New research from Stanford University has some interesting findings on who identifies as biracial—or multi-racial or mixed race, as those terms are also in flux. There seems to be a significant difference in how people see their race according to their gender.

Political-science professor Laura Davenport limited herself to three mixed-race groups in the recently published ASA study: “black-white, Latino-white, and Asian-white.” Woo, boy, that’s already a lot to unpack, but let’s see this through. Using survey data collected from 37,000 students the team came up with these statistics summarized by Keith Wagstaff at NY Magazine:

Among black-white students, 76 percent of women and 64 percent of men identified as biracial.

Among Latino-white students, 40 percent of women saw themselves as biracial, while 32 percent of men did.

And among Asian-white students, 56 percent of women and 50 percent of men called themselves biracial.


It’s hard to guess exactly what is making it more likely that a woman would identify as biracial than a man. One theory posited by Wagstaff is that women whose looks make them difficult to (correctly or incorrectly) categorize are consistently complimented on being “exotic,” and may come to think of their multi-racial background as more intrinsic to themselves than a man not constantly hearing that cheesy pick up line would.

From this graph, it also appears that how people identify has a lot to do with what their racial background is:

The study additionally touches on economic background and religion, complicating further the intersection of those effects on racial identity. Though Davenport shows clearly that there is difference along the gender binary, it’s pretty difficult to tell from a graph all the ways people are pressured to see themselves, and how that directly relates to safety, support, and access.

Images via Shutterstock and ASA.