May 25, 2007

Approve Interracial Dating

83%

That’s the percentage of the U.S. public that now agree that it’s “all right for blacks and whites to date” — up six percentage points from since 2003 and 13 points from a Pew survey conducted 10 years ago.

More than eight-in-ten Americans (83%) now agree that “it’s all right for blacks and whites to date,” reflecting the most dramatic change among the racial attitudes tested in Pew polls—as recently as 1987, the public was divided virtually down the middle on the issue, with 48% approving of blacks and whites dating and 46% disapproving. Age is an important factor in attitudes toward interracial dating. In this regard, Pew surveys since 1987 have documented two complementary trends: Each new generation is more tolerant than the one that precedes it. At the same time, members of each generation have become increasingly tolerant as it ages. Together, these trends help explain the increase in expressions of tolerance toward interracial dating in recent decades. Nearly two-thirds of all Americans born before 1946 (65%) say it is acceptable for whites to date blacks. In contrast, this tolerant view of interracial dating is shared by more than eight-in-ten Baby Boomers (84%) and members of Generation X (87%), who were born between 1965 and 1976. Among younger people there is even broader acceptance of interracial dating: 94% of those born since 1977 say it is all right for blacks and whites to date. There have also been striking changes since the late 1980s in how people of different races view black-white dating. In 1987-88, fewer than half of whites (44%) said that interracial dating was acceptable; that number has nearly doubled (to 81%) in the current survey. Two decades ago, about three-quarters of blacks (74%) felt interracial dating was acceptable. Today, nearly all African Americans (97%) believe that interracial dating is acceptable. Read More