American attitudes on interracial dating

If you grow up in a town with only one non-White family, the intermarriage rate doesn’t really reflect your beliefs.That’s partially why White people were three times less likely to intermarry in 1980 than in 2014: there were half as many opportunities.Today, there are proportionately more Asians, Hispanics and people of other racial/ethnic backgrounds in the United States than ever.These racial/ethnic groups have always been unusually likely to intermarry.Jeter, a Black and Native American woman, and Loving, a White man, fell in love and decided to get married.They lived in Virginia, one of the states that still banned “miscegenation” – the derogatory term used to describe interracial coupling – so they needed to travel to the District of Columbia to be officially recognized as a couple.The were between Blacks and Whites, nearly twenty times higher than in 1950.And more than 15% were “intermarriages” – marriages between people who don’t identify as the same racial or ethnic group, up from 6.7% in 1980.

For example, in 1980, 17% of the young married population was not White.Only about 17% of young married people were not White in 1980, compared to 35% today.So what would America’s intermarriage rate look like if the country had not become more diverse?In the chart below, the blue trend line is our estimate of the rate of intermarriage if the demographics of the young married population had not changed since 1980 – the orange line shows the actual increase.While there is still an increase, it is not even close to what we saw in the first chart.

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