Mate selection preferences among African Americans

Shevelle Antionette Ramirez, Fayetteville State University


This study examined mate selection choices among African Americans. Data were obtained from the National Survey of Families and Households. Conducted in 1987-88, respondents were African American males and females between nineteen to thirty-five. The purpose of the study was to examine the extent to which the mate selection preferences of African Americans are consistent with those reported for other racial/ethnic groups. Previous research seems to indicate that there may be a different set of variables that affect the mate selection choices of African Americans. Findings showed that African Americans have similar mate selection preferences as whites. African American women chose mates based on economic considerations and African American men valued physical characteristics. Gender was the strongest correlate and predictor of the various mate selection preferences among respondents, followed by age, and whether they had been previously married or never married. These findings supported a social exchange theoretical framework. In mate selection as in other areas of personal relationships, individuals attempt to make rational choices and to assess the rewards and costs of their relationship statuses.

Subject Area

Individual & family studies|Black studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Ramirez, Shevelle Antionette, "Mate selection preferences among African Americans" (1997). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI1390620.