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Interracial Couples Earn More

By Taylor Marvin

Via Catherine Rampell, a new report by the Pew Research Center shows that Asian-American grooms and white brides are the highest earning marital parings in America:

White husbands and Asian-America wives make slightly less, but are still the second highest paring. Interesting, right?

I’d take the wider significance of this finding with a grain of salt. It’s likely that Asian-white/white-Asian parings are proxying for education. Students at elite American universities are disproportionately white and Asian; it’s likely that many white-Asian couples met at highly-ranked colleges, increasing their chances of achieving high incomes later in life. Pew data supports this conclusion:

Asian-Asian couples are more likely to both be college-educated than Asian-white couples, but the difference is small. What’s more interesting is the disparity between Asian-white and white-Asian couples. It’s possible that this explains interracial couples with an Asian husband’s higher incomes: couples where the husband is Asian and the wife white tend to be higher educated, perhaps accounting for Asian-white couples’ slightly higher incomes. This suggests that Asian-white couples are more likely to have met in college than white-Asian parings, possibly because highly-educated women are less likely to marry a less-educated partner.

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