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:
* "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