Richard P. Loving and his wife, Mildred, pose in this January
26, 1965, file photograph. Residents of Caroline County,
Virginia, the Lovings married in Washington, D.C., in 1958. Upon
their return to Virginia, the interracial couple was convicted
under the state’s law that banned mixed marriages. They
eventually won a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 1967 that
overturned laws prohibiting interracial unions. (AP Photo)
From The Asian Reporter, V27, #11 (June 5, 2017), page
1 in 6 spouses of newlyweds is of different
race or ethnicity
By Jesse J. Holland
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — More and more Americans are marrying people of
different races and ethnicities, reaching at least 1 in 6
newlyweds in 2015, the highest proportion in American history, a
new study shows.
Currently, there are 11 million people — or 1 out of 10
married people — in the United States with a spouse of a
different race or ethnicity, according to Pew Research Center
analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
This is a big jump from 50 years ago, when the Supreme Court
ruled interracial marriage was legal throughout the United
States. That year, only three percent of newlyweds were
intermarried — which means they had a spouse of a different race
or ethnicity. In 2015, 17 percent of newlyweds were
intermarried, a number which had held steady from the year
"There’s much greater racial tolerance in the United States,
with attitudes having changed in a way where it’s much more
positive toward interracial marriage," said Daniel T. Lichter,
director of the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell
University, who studies interracial and interethnic marriages.
"But I think that a greater reason is the growing diversity of
the population. There are just more demographic opportunities
for people to marry someone of another race or ethnicity."
Asians were most likely to intermarry in 2015, with 29
percent of newlywed Asians married to someone of a different
race or ethnicity, followed by Hispanics at 27 percent, blacks
at 18 percent, and whites at 11 percent.
There also were differences between men and women.
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.
Thirty-six percent of Asian women and 28 percent of Hispanic
women intermarried in 2015, while 26 percent of Hispanic men and
24 percent of black men married someone of a different race or
White and black women were the least likely to consider
someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2015. Only 10
percent of white women married outside their race or ethnicity,
while only 12 percent of black women were involved in
intermarriage — half the rate of black men.
White men were the least likely among males to consider
intermarriage, with only 12 percent involved in interracial or
Despite those numbers, intermarriage is rapidly becoming more
popular among blacks and whites. Since 1980, the number of
blacks who chose to marry someone of a different race or
ethnicity rose from five percent to 18 percent. Whites also have
become more accepting of intermarriage, with the rates
increasing from four percent to 11 percent during that same time
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 Lovings were thrown into a
Virginia jail in 1958 for violating the state’s ban on
interracial marriage. The Supreme Court struck down the Virginia
law and those in roughly one-third of the states in 1967.
The study also found:
* The most common intermarriages were between a Hispanic and
a white spouse at 42 percent. The next most common was between a
white and an Asian spouse at 15 percent followed by a
multiracial and a white spouse at 12 percent.
* Interracial and interethnic marriages are more likely to
happen in cities. Eighteen percent of newlyweds in metropolitan
areas were intermarried compared with 11 percent living
* Roughly half — or 49 percent — of Democrats and
Democratic-leaning independents see intermarriage as a good
thing for society. For Republicans and GOP-leaning independents,
less than 1 in 3 — or 28 percent — saw marriages between races
and ethnicities as a good thing for society.
Jesse J. Holland covers race and ethnicity for The Associated