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The Rise in Interracial Marriages Says A Lot About America…

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American marriage is increasingly multiracial.

Fifteen percent of recent newlyweds are multiracial and, overall, 8.4 percent of all marriages are multiracial, according to William Frey at the Brookings Institute. Compare this to 1960 when only 0.4 percent of US marriages were multiracial.

The study, which looked at marriage between 2008 and 2010, also found multiracial marriages most prevalent among Hispanics and Asians. That is, members of those groups were most likely to “marry out” of their ethnic group. Between 2008 and 2010, more than four in ten marriages involving members of those groups were multiracial marriages. The most likely partners for Hispanics or Asians in a multiracial marriage? Whites.

Additionally, three in ten black marriages are multiracial, with most of these marriages being black-white marriages. As the study points out, this is notable given that black-white marriages were banned in 16 states not more than 50 years ago.

“Race is still a category that separates and divides us,” Sociologist Dan Lichter told USA Today in 2012. “[But multiracial marriage] might be evidence that some of the historical boundaries that separate the races are breaking down,” Lichter says.

###Multiracial Marriage

Are men or women more likely to “marry out?”

In the black and Asian communities, gender seems to play a role in multiracial marriage. A similar study of newlyweds in 2012 found that about 36 percent of Asian women married outside their race, compared with just 17 percent of Asian male newlyweds, according to Pew. This dynamic is reversed in the black community. About 24 percent of all black male newlyweds married outside of their race versus only nine percent of black women.

Other races did not have a similar gender divide.

###The impact of class

Pew also found interesting differences in financial and education status.

White-Asian couples married between 2008 and 2010 had a lot more money than any other pairing, including both all-white couples and all-Asian couples. White-Asian couples had a median income of almost 1,000, while the other two types had median incomes closer to 0,000. The wealthiest couples were Asian men marrying white women.

In terms of education, more than 50 percent of white newlyweds marrying Asians had a college degree. On the other hand, only one-third of white newlyweds who married other whites had college degrees. Among Hispanics and blacks, newlyweds who married whites generally were more educated than those who married within their ethnic community.

Changing demographics

This is part of a larger change in the US where trends point toward the country becoming a majority minority country before 2050.

Majority Minority Graph

This fast-moving trend line came alive this fall when U.S. public schools for the first time were majority minority.

“While whites will still outnumber any single racial or ethnic group this fall, their overall share of the nation’s 50 million public school students is projected to drop to 49.7%,” Pew reported. “Since 1997, the number of white students has declined by 15%, falling from 29.2 million to 24.9 million in 2014.”

Minorities in the U.S. are gaining ground as a result of growth in Hispanic and Asian populations in combination with deaths among whites outnumbering births. Texas, New Mexico, and California are already majority minority states.

As we’ve covered, however, these predictions can be tricky because the definition of “white” has changed over the years. These numbers only work if the definition of “white” remains the same. We’re seeing evidence, though, that some Hispanics are identifying as “white.”

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“The Rise in Interracial Marriages Says A Lot About America…”