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Keywords:

  • Assortative mating;
  • Stature;
  • Weight;
  • Ponderal index;
  • Quetelet's index;
  • Race;
  • Blacks;
  • Whites

Abstract

Assortative mating for stature, weight, and the ponderal and Quetelet's indices is considered in a large sample of Philadelphia Blacks and Whites. The husband-wife correlation for stature is positive and significant in Whites (r = 0.34, d.f. = 382), but negligible in Blacks (r = 0.06, d.f. = 420). Correlations for weight and the body indices are positive and significant in both samples, those for body indices showing some dependency on the husband-wife correlations for stature and weight. When couples are grouped into statural mating combinations on the basis of short (S), medium (M) and tall (T), White spouses' statures show an approximately linear relationship to one another. The distribution of Black spouses' statures, however, is not completely independent, even though the husband-wife correlation is close to zero. There are elements of both positive and negative assortative mating among Blacks, resulting in an excess of certain mating types over that expected on the basis of chance. These mating types are usually those in which the husband is shorter than the wife, except at the heterogeneous extremes of the bivariate array.