Another factor that seems to be involved in dating patterns is socioeconomic class. In a study done by Sara S. Lee, 60 open-ended interviews were conducted with second generation Korean Americans in New York City. The study examined the dilemmas and constraints involved in partner selection as well as the influence of class, gender, and stereotypes. Among middle-class Korean Americans, Lee found that most of them showed a strong preference for a coethnic marriage because they share a similar background of experiences that helps them bond more easily. In addition, Lee posits that given that the majority of Korean Americans are in the middle class, it leads to higher propiniquity among them via 4-year colleges and Korean American student groups. On the other hand, Lee’s interviews of working-class Korean Americans showed slightly different preferences. Many respondents explained that despite parental pressures to marry within their ethnicity, they continue to date many different races. They seem to look for similarities in socioeconomic experience rather than ethnic identity, and thus appear to be more open about dating and marrying across different races. Although this is just a small sample of people, the difference in preference based on class provides an interesting and unique perspective.
Lee, Sara, “Racial and Ethnic Identities of Second-Generation Korean Immigrants in New York City” (Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Sociology, Columbia University 2002)