Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

1 in 6 newlyweds' spouse is of different race or ethnicity

1 in 6 newlyweds' spouse is of different race or ethnicity

It's been 50 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that anti-miscegenation - Jim Crow-era laws banning interracial marriages - was unconstitutional.

The findings mark a social turnaround from 1967, when a mere 3 percent of new marriages was interracial.

"The most dramatic increases in intermarriage have occurred among black newlyweds", Livingston and Brown wrote.

The national snapshot of census data showed that in the US, 17 percent of newlyweds had a spouse of a different race, a five-fold increase since 1967, when 3 percent of newlyweds were intermarried, the report said. Honolulu had, by far, the biggest share of newlyweds - 42 percent - marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity, trailed by Las Vegas at 31 percent. As the authors of the Pew report, Gretchen Livingston and Anna Brown, write: "While nearly half (46 percent) of Hispanic newlyweds with a bachelor's degree were intermarried in 2015, this share drops to (16 percent) for those with a high school diploma or less - a pattern driven partially, but not entirely, by the higher share of immigrants among the less educated". Since 1980, the number of blacks who chose to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity rose from 5 per cent to 18 per cent. Whites also have become more accepting of intermarriage, with the rates increasing from 4 per cent to 11 per cent during that same time period. Eighteen percent of newlyweds in metropolitan areas were intermarried compared with 11 percent living elsewhere.

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Interracial marriage became legal throughout the United States in 1967 when Richard and Mildred Loving took their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The gap between metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, however, "is driven entirely by whites", according to the report.

A study on intermarriage by Pew Research Center published Thursday interviewed about 1,800 people about their perceptions on interracial marriage and analyzed census information over the years. "Hispanics and Asians are more likely to intermarry if they live in non-metro areas". 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. Thirty-eight percent of those in suburban areas say the same.

White and Hispanic Americans have similar rates of intermarriage between men and women, but both black Americans and Asian Americans differ sharply by gender.

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About 11 percent of white American newlyweds are married to someone of another race, according to the study, compared to 18 percent of black Americans, 27 percent of Hispanic Americans and 29 percent of Asian Americans. "If you look at the breakdown of the marriage market there, it really is such a mix, with no racial or ethnic group counts for more than half of the pool", she says.

The next most common pairing is one white and one Asian spouse (15 percent).

Daniel Litchter, director of the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, told the Associated Press that the biggest reason for intermarriage is the growing diversity of the us population.

Despite those numbers, intermarriage is rapidly becoming more popular among blacks and whites.

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