Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey
(ACS) in 2008-2010 and findings from three of the Center’s own nationwide telephone surveys conducted between 2009-2011 that explore public attitudes toward intermarriage, Pew Research Center
has published a report analyzing the demographic and economic characteristics of people who marry spouses of a different race or ethnicity. The research also compares the traits of those who “marry out” with those who “marry in.”
Some key findings:
Intermarriage is increasing
• About 15% of all new marriages in the United States in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another, more than twice that of 1980 (6.7%).
• Among all newlyweds in 2010, 9% of whites, 17% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 28% of Asians married out.
Gender differences in marrying outside of race in 2010
• 24% of all black male newlyweds married out
• 9% of black female newlyweds married out
• 36% of Asian female newlyweds married out
• 17% of Asian male newlyweds married out
Intermarriage numbers among white and Hispanic newlyweds do not vary by gender.
Common characteristics of newlywed ins and outs
• They have comparable average combined annual earnings.
• Both husband and wife are college graduates.
• They are similar ages.
• An equal share are marrying for the first time.
Intermarriage in the United States is more popular in the Western states.
• 22% of all newlyweds in Western states married someone of a different race or ethnicity.
• 14% in the South
• 13% in the Northeast
• 11% in the Midwest
Apart from Hawaii at 42%, between 2008 and 2010 20% or more intermarriage occurred west of the Mississippi River.
Is intermarriage beneficial for society?
• 43% believe that intermarriage has changed society for the better
• 11% say it has been a change for the worse
• 44% say it has made no difference
Pew reports that “Minorities, younger adults, the college-educated, those who describe themselves as liberal and those who live in the Northeast or the West are more disposed than others to view intermarriage positively.”
Read the full report of Pew Research, by Wendy Wang, The Rise of Intermarriage Rates, Characteristics Vary by Race and Gender