Saturday, February 27, 2010

NAM underachievement due, in part, to less studying

This is an interesting research study (Wei-Cheng Mau, Richard Lynn. 1999. Racial and ethnic differences in motivation for educational achievement in the United States. Personality and Individual Differences, 27, 1091-1096):

Data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study show that on standardised scores in mathematics, reading and science, the highest mean scores are obtained by Asians and whites and lower scores are obtained by Hispanics and blacks. The same differences are present for the number of hours per week devoted to homework. It is suggested that motivational differences expressed in the amount of homework undertaken contribute to the group differences in educational achievement. Statistically significant correlations between the amount of homework and educational achievement support this hypothesis. There are also group differences in intelligence parallel to those in educational achievement, suggesting both intelligence and motivation are involved in racial and ethnic differences in educational achievement.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blacks, gay men, and narcissism

MIDUS study participants were asked: "I enjoy being unique and different from others in many respects." In personality research, this item is a measure of narcissism. Here are the means by race/ethnicity (N = 3,980):

Narcissism mean score

Blacks 4.87*
Asians 4.75
Hispanics 4.41
Amerindians 4.21
Whites 4.07

*significantly higher than whites at the 95% confidence level

The black mean is 1/2 a standard deviation higher than the white mean--a moderate difference. The higher measured black level of self-esteem might be actually tapping greater narcissism.

Gay men 4.79*
Bisexual men 4.59
Straight men 4.13

*significantly higher than straight men at the 95% confidence level

The mean for gay men is more than four-tenths of a standard deviation higher than the straight male mean--also a moderate difference.

Few NAMs watching the Olympics

From Nielsen, the graph suggests a cultural divide. While whites and Asian Americans have been watching the Olympics in large numbers (white numbers not shown), few blacks and Hispanics are interested.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Race and speaking up

MIDUS respondents were asked if they agreed with this: "I am not afraid to voice my opinions, even when they are in opposition to the opinions of most people." Here are the means by race/ethnicity:

Mean "speaking up" score

Black 4.87
Amerindian 4.67
Hispanic 4.63
White 4.55*
Asian 3.67

* significantly lower than blacks at 95% confidence level

The gap between blacks and Asians is eight-tenths of a standard deviation--a large difference.  Blacks on top and Asians on the bottom is consistent with my experience in the classroom.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More on black spirituality

MIDUS respondents were asked a number of questions about their spirituality. I calculated the means for blacks and whites:

With all questions, black-white differences are statistically significant. The Cohen d's reveal a gap of moderate size. All the answers are highly intercorrelated which indicates that they are measuring an underlying trait--something that might be termed spirituality. "Mindfulness" is a Buddhist term that refers to the accepting awareness of one's internal experiences.

Blacks most moved by beauty of life

MIDUS Study respondents were asked the following question: "On a daily basis, how often do you experience the following: A feeling of being deeply moved by the beauty of life." Here are the percentages who answered "often" by race/ethnicity:


Blacks 49.0
Hispanics 43.2
Polish 42.3
Amerindian 40.0
Scottish 37.1
English 38.4
Irish 35.3*
Norwegian 33.8
German 33.0*
Jewish 30.2*
Italian 29.9*
French 26.7*

* significantly lower than blacks at the 95% confidence level

Blacks are significantly more likely than several European groups to have this type of experience often. I'm reminded of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" (although he didn't write the song). This is consistent with the higher level of religiosity reported by blacks.  

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Educational levels among Mexican Americans

One indicator of an immigrant group's ability to assimilate is the speed with which they depart from other poor groups and become as educated as the mainstream. Eastern European Jews, who came to America with nothing, reached average levels of education within a generation, and quickly surpassed by leaps and bounds the national average. 

Mexicans were in the American Southwest before American settlers arrived, but most Mexicans have arrived here in the past few decades. Using General Social Survey data, I calculated the mean years of school completed for Mexican Americans born in the United States and compared them with black Americans.

I merged the 70s and 80s to get a sufficiently large sample. During that period, Mex-Ams were more than one year below the black mean. They made gains in the 90s, but dropped back in the past decade. In four decades, they have failed to reach the black level of education.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Faith among Millenials

This Pew graph shows that Millenials are less likely to belong to a particular religion than earlier cohorts. The circles indicate the points at which generations are at comparable ages. Twenty-six percent of Millenials are unaffiliated compared to 20 percent of Gen Xers and 13 percent of Boomers at the same ages.

On the other hand, this table shows that young adults in the Aughts were slight more likely to pray daily than their counterparts in the 80s or 90s.

So it appears that young people are not abandoning faith, just the institutionalization of it.  This might help explain their higher levels of social liberalism. Here are the numbers who consider homosexual sex always wrong:

Only 43 percent of Millenials agree, compared to 58 percent of Boomers when they were young adults.

UPDATE: Using GSS data, I calculated the percent of young adults with no religion in the past decade for non-Hispanic whites only. It's 26.8%.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Race and parental alcohol abuse

The MIDUS study asked 2,556 people if either of their parents drank so much that is caused  problems. Here are the estimates by race/ethnicity:

Mexican American 56.2
Amerindian 38.1
Black 28.7*
White 25.1*
Asian 14.3 

* significantly less than Mexican Americans at the 95% confidence level

The parents of Mex-Ams are four times as likely to have a drinking problem as Asian Americans.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Map of political orientation?

From Gallup, this appears to be a political map to me, but look at the top left. Sure it would be good if other secular states voted like Alaska and Wyoming, but they don't.

The Big Five and family size

In the MIDUS study (Midlife Development in the United States) scores for the Big Five supertraits were calculated for respondents (there is no description of the scales). Most of the sample is between the ages of 40 and 60, and I limited the analysis to whites. Here are the mean number of offspring for low and high groups:

People high in extraversion and agreeableness and those low in neuroticism (negative emotionality) have significantly more children than their counterparts. 

The finding that agreeable people have more offspring is consistent with GSS data which indicate that agreeable women have larger families.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sexual orientation and emotional intimacy

Participants in the Midlife Development in the U.S. Study were asked:  "To what extent would you say that your sexual relationships include emotional intimacy?" Most of these people are between 40 and 60 years of age. The following lists the percent who answered "not at all" (N = 2,818):


Gay 16.0
Straight 4.2

Lesbian 15.4
Straight 5.2

Homosexual men and women are 3-4 times more likely than their straight counterparts to have sexual relationships that have no emotional intimacy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Race, ethnicity, and jail

Participants in the Midlife Development in the United States Study (2004-06) were asked if they were ever in jail (N = 2,167). I calculated the percentages by ethnic background:

Black 11.9
Amerindian 11.4
Hispanic 10.0
Irish 7.5
Russian 5.9
German 5.4
Polish 5.2
English 4.9
French 4.5
Italian 4.2
Jewish 3.3
Norwegian 2.5
Swedish 2.5
Scottish 2.3

GSS data indicates more Italian arrests, but the ranking is otherwise similar--NAMs on top, and Jews and Scandinavians on the bottom. The gap is wide: 5 times as many blacks as Americans of Scottish descent report having been in jail.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ethnic differences in waist-to-hip ratio

Women participating in the Midlife Development in the United States Study (2004-06) were measured for waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). A ratio of 0.7 is considered to be ideal for health and attractiveness. Here are means by race/ethnic group (N = 1,891).  

Mean waist-to-hip ratio

Mexican .88
Amerindian .88
French .87
Black .86
Scottish .86
Swedish .86
English .85
Irish .85
Polish .85
Russian .85
Norwegian .84
German .84
Asian .84
Jewish .84
Italian .83

The differences seem small, but the gap between Italian and Mexican Americans is sixth-tenths of a standard deviation. The groups are roughly 1 1/2 to 2 standard deviations above the ideal--they're all fat--but keep in mind that this is a sample of middle-aged women, with most of the sample between the ages of 40 and 60. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Race, ethnicity, and attitudes toward inter-ethnic marriage

The Midlife Development in the United States Study asked Americans how important it is for members of their ethnic group to marry inside the group. Here are the percentages who said "very important" or "somewhat important" (N = 4,881): 

Jewish 47.4
Asian 42.3
Amerindian 37.3
Black 34.6
Hispanic 33.8
English 28.4
French 19.7
Italian 19.1
Scottish 18.5
Irish 18.3
Polish 16.3
German 16.0
Swedish 15.8
Norwegian 15.2

Non-whites and especially Jewish Americans have high numbers. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Religious affiliation and alcoholism

The Midlife Development in the United States Study (2004-06) asked respondents if they have a drinking problem (N = 3,918). Here are the percentages answering yes by religious affiliation:

No religious preference 7.8*
Agnostic/Atheist 9.1
Spiritual 15.4
Everyone else 3.6

* significantly higher than "everyone else"

People with no religion are 2-4 times more likely to be alcoholics.

By the way, I thought textbook sociology teaches us that religions that forbid alcohol produce the greatest number of drunks, but only 2.8% of Mormons report this problem.

Preferring one's own ethnic group among whites

As a follow-up to the last post on race and preferring the company of one's own, I wanted to take a look at variation among white groups. Listed below are the percent who answered that they did not prefer their own group "at all" by ethnicity (N = 4,478):

English 32.8*
French 53.4
German 50.3
Irish 38.5
Italian 28.5*
Polish 37.7*
Scottish 41.3
Swedish 45.9
Russian 37.5
Norwegian 42.7
Jewish 20.2*

*significantly different from German Americans at the 95% confidence level

I chose German Americans as the reference group since they are large and score second highest (after French Americans) on this measure of neutrality. Surprisingly, Irish Americans are a bit more neutral than those of English descent. Jewish Americans, by contrast, score in the non-white range (from the previous post, Native Americans are 20 percent).

Preferring the company of one's ethnic group

The study of Midlife Development in the United States (2004-06) asked 4,759 people if they prefer to be with other people of the same ethnic group. Here are the percentages who said "not at all."

White 38.8
Black 6.5*
Native American 20.0*
Asian 7.4*
Hispanic 16.2*

*significantly different from whites at the 95% confidence level

All non-white groups are more likely than whites to prefer the company of their own. Whites are six times more likely than blacks to have a non-preferential attitude.  

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Happiness and ethnocentrism among whites

This graph summarizes GSS data on happiness and the importance of one's ethnicity among whites (N = 1,087):

You can see that whites who say their ethnicity is very important are more likely than other groups to be very happy (not statistically significant, however).

Monday, February 08, 2010

Gay couple promiscuity

This study reported in the New York Times provides an argument that marriage will not traditionalize homosexuals; rather, trend-setting homosexuals will modernize marriage. In a study of 556 gay male couples, half admitted to having an open relationship. (Cheating among the other half was not described). According to author Joe Quirk:
"The traditional American marriage is in crisis, and we need insight,” he said, citing the fresh perspective gay couples bring to matrimony. “If innovation in marriage is going to occur, it will be spearheaded by homosexual marriages."

H/T Guy White
Don't miss Steve Sailer's article at VDARE where he makes careful use of L.A. county homicide data to show minority proneness to crime.  

Allow me to add one point to his argument. The state of California has been going after gang-related crime aggressively for a couple decades now. For a given crime, membership in a gang will get you a much longer sentence. Blacks and Hispanics have been disproportionately impacted by this strategy since few gang members are white. If these thousands of gang members were free on L.A. streets, minority crime rates would be substantially higher.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The ethnicity distribution of physicians

The table lists the percent of American physicians by ethnic group:

The ratios are the share of physicians in each group compared to their share of the total population. Americans of Scottish descent and especially those of Jewish and Asian Indian are overrepresented among doctors. There are disproportionately low numbers of blacks, Americans of Germans and Irish background, and the sample has no Mexican American doctors.  

Friday, February 05, 2010

A majority of Democrats have a positive image of socialism

From Gallup:

Fifty-three percent of Democrats and 61 percent of liberals have a positive image of socialism.

Ethnicity among social scientists

The General Social Survey (GSS) sampled 118 American social scientists (economists, psychologists, sociologists, urban planners, and others). Here are the percentages by ethnicity:

The ratios are the share of all social scientists of a particular ethnicity compared to their share of the total population.  Americans of English, Italian and especially Jewish descent are overrepresented. Those of German, black, and especially Mexican heritage are underrepresented.  (Keep in mind that a GSS sample includes anyone who self-identifes as a social scientist, so it will include a lot of schmucks like me who barely count).

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Not even MA is 30 percent liberal

From Gallup:

Only DC makes it over the 30% mark for liberals.

Religiosity and domestic violence

The National Couples Survey asked 320 whites if they've been in a physical fight with their spouse, and if they were religious. The percent listed below answered yes to the violence:

Very religious 6.0
Somewhat religious 10.3
Not religious 11.4

Couples who are not religious are almost twice as likely to be violent as those who are very religious.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Religious folks are less likely to cheat on spouse

The National Couples Survey asked 234 whites if they have had sex with someone other than their spouse. Here are the estimates by how religious the respondent is:

Not religious 14.3
Somewhat religious 3.3
Very religious 5.4

Those who are not religious are 4.3 times more likely to have strayed than the moderately religious and 2.6 times more likely than the very religious. (Differences are not statistically significant.)

The finding is consistent with my General Social Survey analyses showing a positive link between never going to church and infidelity, and atheism and cheating.

(These numbers might look low to you. Keep in mind that the age range for females is 20-35 and the males (their partners) are ages 18 and up, so this is a young group with fewer years of marriage than the general married population.)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Approval of interracial dating is almost universal among the young

From Pew, you can see that interracial dating is almost universally supported by Millenials.

The ethnicity of scientists

The General Social Survey asks respondents (American) about occupation and ethnic background. Here are the percent of all natural scientists in each ethnic group (those who are less than 5% of the total are excluded):

The ratio refers to the share of natural scientists compared to the ethnic group's share of the total population. You can see that Americans of English, Irish, Italian and especially Scottish descent are natural scientists in disproportionate numbers.

The picture changes for mathematical and computer scientists. Americans of Polish and especially Asian Indian descent are more likely than other groups to have this kind of job. 

The only two large American groups that did not each produce at least 5 percent of natural, mathematical, or computer scientists were blacks and Mexican Americans. (I was surprised that Jews were only 1.0 percent of the natural scientists and 2.9 percent of the math/computer scientists--small sample size does not help).  

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...