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1 in 6 newlywed spouses are of different race or ethnicity

19 May 2017, 11:41 | Winifred Adams

Above an example of a celebrity interracial couple. John Legend right is black while his wife Chrissy Teigen is half Thai and half-white

Above an example of a celebrity interracial couple. John Legend right is black while his wife Chrissy Teigen is half Thai and half-white

White men were the least likely among males to consider intermarriage, with only 12 per cent involved in interracial or interethnic marriages. But attitudes and behaviors have shifted dramatically. "That is very striking".

Despite lagging behind Asian and Hispanic newlyweds, black and white newlyweds experienced the most dramatic growth in the rate of interracial and interethnic marriages. Their surging populations in the US are the biggest contributors to the overall rise in interracial marriage, the report said. It found white Americans were the least likely to marry someone of another race, with white women slightly less likely than men, and that Asian women were the most likely to marry someone of another race. And the number of whites who intermarried increased from 4% to 11% in the same period. Mildred Loving, a part-Native American, part-black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, landed in a Virginia county jail for getting married. Since 1980, the percentage of black newlyweds who married someone of a different race or ethnicity has more than tripled from 5 percent to 18 percent. That's 17% of all newlyweds - or one in six - that year.

There also were differences between men and women. Only 10 per cent of white women married outside their race or ethnicity, while only 12 per cent of black women were involved in intermarriage - half the rate of black men.

Note: Whites, blacks and Asians include only non-Hispanics.

Gender also determines how likely people were to intermarry, according to the Pew analysis.

Asian and Hispanic women were the most likely to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2015, while Hispanic and black men were the most likely among men, the data showed. Conversely Asian brides (36%) were much more likely to have walked down the aisle toward a partner of a different race than Asian grooms (21%) were to be waiting for one. As a result of that ruling and increasing social acceptance, interracial marriage is more common than it has ever been in the U.S. In 1990, nearly two thirds of Americans who weren't black said they would be opposed to a close friend or relative marrying someone who was. Now, that figure is 14 percent. However, the fact that both are located near military bases likely contributes to the high rates of intermarriage, since intermarriage is typically more common among people in the military than among civilians.

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At the other end of the scale, 3 percent of newlyweds in Jackson, Mississippi, and Asheville, North Carolina, married across racial or ethnic lines.

In the past seven years, the amount of Americans saying interracial marriages are good for society has risen by 15 percent, according to a newly published study, but it's still not a majority opinion.

In Honolulu, for instance, the "marriage market" is made up of 42% Asians, 20% non-Hispanic whites and 9% Hispanics.

"The growth in intermarriage has coincided with shifting societal norms as Americans have become more accepting of marriages involving spouses of different races and ethnicities, even within their own families", Pew said.

As for what exactly interracial marriage means - which is sometimes referred to as intermarriage - for the objective of its new study, Pew defines it as "marriages between a Hispanic and a non-Hispanic, or marriages between non-Hispanic spouses who come from the following different racial groups: white, black, Asian, American Indian, multiracial or some other race".

An interracial couple is seen in this stock photo.



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