Homophily influences ranking of minorities in social networks.

Homophily can put minority groups at a disadvantage by restricting their ability to establish links with a majority group or to access novel information.

Here, we show how this phenomenon can influence the ranking of minorities in examples of real-world networks with various levels of heterophily and homophily ranging from sexual contacts, dating contacts, scientific collaborations, and scientific citations. We devise a social network model with tunable homophily and group sizes, and demonstrate how the degree ranking of nodes from the minority group in a network is a function of (i) relative group sizes and (ii) the presence or absence of homophilic behaviour. We provide analytical insights on how the ranking of the minority can be improved to ensure the representativeness of the group and correct for potential biases.

Our work presents a foundation for assessing the impact of homophilic and heterophilic behaviour on minorities in social networks.

Link to paper published in Scientific Reports.

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