Saturday, March 20, 2010

Infidelity rates by ethnicity

++Addition++Commenter Steve astutely pointed out that I forgot to include Italians. The sample size is more than sufficient, I just missed it. The table has been updated appropriately.

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The re-posting at R/H/E Notes of a paper on the putative lasciviousness of Swedish women made me wonder about the relationship between ancestry and philandering in the US. The following table, constructed from GSS data, shows self-admitted cheating rates among those who were married when they were fooling around, sorted in descending order by female creeping:

Ethnicity*WomenMenn
Black18.333.6884
Scotish16.427.8521

French

16.322.0263
"American"15.528.2270
Native American15.327.3681
Irish13.621.51676
Eastern European12.517.9729
Mexican12.419.6493
German12.320.02319
Scandinavian12.122.8565
Dutch12.013.9220
English/Welsh11.919.61704
Italian11.317.8732
Iberian10.938.5220
Central European8.812.2275
Asian5.118.3339

* "American" refers to those who claim the same and nothing else as their ethnicity. Many of these folks trace their ancestry in the US back several centuries. They are concentrated in the South.
"Eastern European" includes those of Polish, Romanian, Russian, Hungarian, and Lithuanian descent, as well as those who trace their ancestry back to somewhere in the former Yugoslavia.
"Scandinavian" includes those of Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish descent.
"Iberian" includes those of Spanish and Portuguese descent.
"Central European" includes those of Austrian, Czechoslavakian, and Swiss descent.
"Asian" includes those of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Indian descent.

I am more aware of a stereotype concerning the of promiscuity of French women than I am of one regarding Swedish girls. The sample sizes for Denmark and Finland are too small to consider individually with any statistical confidence, so I included them in a broader Scandinavian category, but of the 120 women of Swedish ancestry surveyed, 15% of them claimed to have cheated on their husbands. That puts them near the top of their sex, with higher infidelity rates than the other three Scandinavian women exhibit. So this reputation does not appear to be baseless.

Black women occupying the top spot among their sex is of little surprise. That black men are second to those from Iberia is unexpected, however. The self-reported cheating rate among Spanish men is peculiarly high, to such an extent that I wonder if it is not a fluke or even the result of a coding error. The correlation between cheating rates among men and women of the same ethnic group is a middling .49 (p=.03), but removing Iberians (four-fifths of whom are Spanish) from the calculations sends it soaring to .76 (p=0). Because of the strong similarities among men and women of the same ethnic grouping (relatively, that is--just as men consistently reporting having a greater number of sexual partners in the course of their lifetimes than women do, men are also consistently more likely to claim they have cheated on their spouses than women are), I'm encouraged as to the amount of value in the data.

Despite having an Irish grandparent, I tend to associate uncouthness with the ruddy "Scotch-Irish" term that many people use as an ethnic identifier. Well, those of Scotish, Irish, and "American" (ie, largely Scotish, Irish, or Scotch-Irish who constitute the McCain Belt) ancestry are all clustered at the top among groups of European descent.

Non-black NAMs come next, followed by Eastern Europeans, Western Europeans, and finally Asians, who are once again reliably found performing with much probity on a measure of social behavior.

GSS variables used: EVSTRAY, ETHNIC, SEX

19 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

In one sense it's rather surprising that Asian women have such a low infidelity rate. According to conventional wisdom, many women reluctantly settle for Beta men when it comes time to get married, but will then cheat with the first Alpha who comes along. Given that Asian men have a reputation as Betas, there should be any number of Asian women who are amenable to Alpha charms. The general desirability of Asian women should make this even more so.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Surely there is a problem here?

If a man is unfaithful, then he must be unfaithful with someone.

Unless there are a large number of unmarried women, or some women are getting all the action, these stats seem wrong.

I would expect women to less likely to admit to being unfaithful, even in a situation where it is claimed you will never be found out, and perhaps some of the men cannot distinguish between Mrs Palmer and a real woman.

Audacious Epigone said...

Peter,

Is that the conventional wisdom? It strikes me as a relatively novel conception that does not have much in the way of empirical support, though I think it is generally true but exaggerated. Surveys consistently show that Asian couples have sex less frequently than white and black couples do, so I don't find it surprising that they are less 'enticed' into cheating.

Anon,

Right, it's the same mathematical impossibility we see with self-reports on the number of lifetime sexual partners. Relevance here is to those of the same sex but of different ethnic groups.

Anonymous said...

I love that you separate 'black' and 'american' saying that the 'americans' can trace several centuries back in this country. Unlike 'black' people who are CLEARLY separate!
You can make any blog racist, congrats.

Anonymous said...

ScandInavian.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Very few blacks choose "American" as their race/ethnicity--they overwhelmingly choose "black". Most of the whites who do choose "American" have roots in the country going back centuries, as opposed to those who trace their ancestry to Russia or Germany. In pointing that out I'm not attempting to make a value judgment one way or the other, but to simply describe an ethnic identifier many people are not particularly familiar with.

Anon,

Thanks. I've fixed the spelling.

levi johnston said...

I wish there was more reliable data on cuckoldry.

Anonymous said...

According to Rushton's hypothesis, in a statistical sense, for clusters of genetic propensities, black Africans are somewhat more ape-like than white Europeans, who are in turn are somewhat more ape-like than East Asians. (Cold weather in Eurasia and an 10,000 year-old rice-farming culture in China might explain Rushton's hypothesis.) Do promiscuity and adultery seem more ape-like than chastity and sexual fidelity?

The Asian of Reason said...

Peter, Asian sexual culture is still highly conservative. It is looked down upon for a women to cheat, for a man to cheat, it isn't that big of a deal. There is a strong social incentive for Asian women to remain faithful, regardless of the sexual prowess of their spouse.

agnostic said...

dude, sonic 4 -- holy shit.

Audacious Epigone said...

Agnostic,

Has it been released yet?

Steve said...

Where are the Italians?

Twinky said...

That's interesting. I think, some people are just too good on How To Cheat And Get Away With It. :)

Anonymous said...

Swedish women don't consider it cheating because they are very open about it; it's part of their culture.

Anonymous said...

You said:
"Black women occupying the top spot among their sex is of little surprise."

I say:
From my experiences as an Black American woman it is a big surprise. I have had several encounters wherein very promiscuous White American women have had sex with men regardless of their "committed" relationships, many times resulting in many broken families and relationships.

Maybe the more appropriate question would be "Have you had sexual/intimate relations outside of a committed relationship?"

Anonymous said...

I don't trust statistics i feel that women maybe at the same level to cheat or even higher... women will more likely lie and get way with it besides it is hard to argue with women. Most women will not admit having an affair having an affair doesn't give women an ego boost or feel good about it hence they will most likely their desires since women are more emotionally oriented they are more likely to cheat with people close to them, i bet most wives have a bi-curios tendency than men since they will be more appreciated and comforted by their girl friends when their husbands are busy on a bussiness trip or making money.
men will of course admit having an affair to other people except to their wife and most men cheat coz they want to have fun but few cheat coz of emotional reasons

Anonymous said...

Black women occupying the top spot among their sex is of little surprise.

How is this of little surprise. I'd love to know.

Anonymous said...

You forget another significant correlating factor -- how loyal Asian women generally are. A force far greater than coveting/desiring an alpha alternative to a beta reality, is one of honor and reputation, inspired by and deeply embedded within the culture.

Anonymous said...

This stinks of racism.
So all Black's in the world are the same race are they?

Where as we can safely define white people by their country of origin!

And then you are not surprised?!
I am not surprised!