NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 25, 2004

Despite belonging to the most ethnically-diverse generation ever, most U.S. children rarely interact with ethnic groups other than their own, says a new study by Viacom's Network and Cultural Access Group.

The study, which surveyed 1,500 children and their parents in 16 major cities, found that:

  • Only 19 percent of white children interact with kids from other ethnic groups in their daily lives.
  • Some 62 percent of African-American children report living in neighborhoods and attending schools that are predominantly black.

There are also big differences in the attitudes of children and parents from various ethnic groups:

  • White girls are less happy about their looks -- 44 percent have tried to lose weight, compared with 16 percent of Asians and 28 percent of African-Americans.
  • More African-American parents report giving their teens a lot of independence and allowing them to stay out later without supervision.
  • More Asian children -- 70 percent -- worry about doing well in school.

Researchers noted that almost none of the children surveyed used skin color, hair type or accent when told to describe the differences between themselves and peers from other ethnic groups.

Source: Miriam Jordan, "Ethnic Diversity Doesn't Blend in Kids' Lives," Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2004.

For text WSJ text (subscription required),,SB108752127551941192,00.html


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