June 12, 2015

Interracial marriage: Who is ‘marrying out’?

Interracial Marriages Vary by RaceToday marks the 48th anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states. Interracial marriages have increased steadily since then.

In 2013, a record-high 12% of newlyweds married someone of a different race, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data. (This share does not take into account the “interethnic” marriages between Hispanics and non-Hispanics, which we covered in an earlier report on intermarriage.)

Looking beyond newlyweds, 6.3% of all marriages were between spouses of different races in 2013, up from less than 1% in 1970.

Some racial groups are more likely to intermarry than others. Of the 3.6 million adults who got married in 2013, 58% of American Indians, 28% of Asians, 19% of blacks and 7% of whites have a spouse whose race was different from their own.

Marrying Out of One's RaceThe overall numbers mask significant gender gaps within some racial groups. Among blacks, men are much more likely than women to marry someone of a different race. Fully a quarter of black men who got married in 2013 married someone who was not black. Only 12% of black women married outside of their race.

For Asians, the gender pattern goes in the opposite direction: Asian women are much more likely than Asian men to marry someone of a different race. Among newlyweds in 2013, 37% of Asian women married someone who was not Asian, while 16% of Asian men married outside of their race.

American Indians have the highest interracial marriage rate among all single-race groups. Women are slightly more likely to “marry out” than men in this group: 61% of American Indian female newlyweds married outside their race, compared with 54% of American Indian male newlyweds.

The trend toward more interracial marriages is undoubtedly related, at least in part, to changing social norms. Our previous surveys have documented growing acceptance among the public. In 2014, 37% of Americans said having more people of different races marrying each other was a good thing for society, up from 24% four years earlier. Only 9% in 2014 said this trend was a bad thing for society, and 51% said it doesn’t make much difference.

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Intermarriage

  1. Photo of Wendy Wang

    is a senior researcher focusing on social and demographic trends at Pew Research Center.


  1. Anonymous1 year ago

    America is such a terrible place, 21st century and they still can’t get over a subjective social phenomenon such as race.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Its the current year, its the current year. All classifications are a subjective social phenomenon. But for theses categorizations there is much biological facts and proof. But that does not matter for someone who comes in here trying to social signal to peers that will never read it.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago

      That commit sounded very ignorant. I’m sure people tend to marry people who they are comfortable with and have things in common with. And not basing it on the race of the other person.
      I’m sure most of the other countries are more one sided on who they can marry than America.
      Before making commits like that you should look into how it is elsewhere.

    3. Brian Lockett1 year ago

      1. America is such a terrible place. Because the world is such a terrible place.

      2. Stating the 21st century is irrelevant here. Welcome to the fallacy of Year Irrelevancy. i.imgur.com/NnqCKG9.png

      3. It’s not that always an issue that people still can’t get over a subjective social phenomenon such as race (by the way, we do objectively exist as different groups of people, even if we want to call it “race”). It’s that there are still legitimate issues to face, even in coming together as different “races.”

      4. If you think topic of “race” doesn’t matter as a dialogue, or perhaps in context to human relationships (platonic or romantic), you should try dating someone black for a while. (Relax, folks–I’m black.) Nowhere in life will the dynamics of difference become more apparent than in a non-black/black coupling.

      If you’re not ready to deal with even the physical aspect of our differences as black people, such as a completely different lifestyle towards things like hair and skin care, it will catch you by surprise just how, well, drastically non-white that black people really are.

      You start to notice even subtle things that nobody pays attention to, like how primetime television rarely displays ads for care products specifically for black people’s unique needs–unless it’s on a network like BET, stuffed away from the general populace because most of nation don’t even think think twice about the L’Oreal ads played ad nauseum, fit to their lifestyle as the bigger majority.

      Or even other issues that people generally don’t think about, like dealing with completely different dynamics about family. You think same-race in-laws can be terrible? Wait until you perhaps discover any subtle racism that may persist within your family, that suddenly become evident in context to an interracial relationship. Some people you love and thought you knew may just surprise you. Some folks surprise themselves to how much they object to interracial relationships–including mother-in-laws who always picture white grandchildren, but find themselves stumbling a bit at the prospect of mixed grandchildren.

      And while this kind of thing generally won’t stop some couples out there from pursuing their relationships (and hey, best of luck to those who genuinely try and to those who generally succeeded), it’s certainly something more than just a mere social construct.

      It’s a personal revelation of just how much we have to overcome at a personal level about things. All the sociological/ideological sentiment in the world won’t touch you about the matter like personal experience can. It’s a subjective, based on never realizing what you didn’t notice objectively.

  2. Robyn Davies1 year ago

    Are bi-racial (caucasian and black) men more likely to date white women? Are bi-racial (caucasian and black) women more likely to date black men?

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      I think in America they are cause most biracials(black/white) have white American mothers and african American fathers but I think some biracial females are rebelling from ending up with black men in the african American community.

      1. Black Manhood Lessons1 year ago

        not nearly true —-BM BW are at 86% in the USA pew only researches its members not the usa

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          It wasn’t just members, it’s also everybody in the America. Even christelyn karazin referenced site plus other two about this. Nobody is talking about black marriages. She asked about biracials who are half black and who they end up with. For the most part biracials in America have african American fathers and white mothers whether their parents are married or not, which makes sense why most of the time boys go with women that look like their mothers and girls go with men that look like their fathers but that’s slowly changing with the girls at least

          1. Anonymous1 year ago

            No it isn’t all of america. Less than twenty percent of bm marry outside their race and only 12 percent marry whites.

        2. Anonymous1 year ago

          From what see in this article 25% of black men are married outside their race, not less then 20%.

    2. Black Manhood Lessons1 year ago

      pew lies soooo much they will give you a 2005 answer and pretend its current

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Their answer is accurate & recent from 2015, it is not a lie. 2005 is such a stretch coming from you

  3. Anonymous1 year ago

    Marry for happiness. Nothing elase matters. And don’t say: but what’s about the children. By the time they are old enough it will not make a difference.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Untrue. Mixed race kids suffer mental problems at much higher rates than children of one race.

      1. Malcolm Heard1 year ago

        I am tri-racial and I must have been mentally incapable of comprehending why I don’t feel like I suffer mental problems.

  4. RN282 years ago

    It’s 2015 and we are still calling indigenous people “American Indians”? Get it together.

    1. John Jones1 year ago

      That’s what they call themselves. What would you prefer, “Pre-Colombian Asian Migrants?”

      1. Joshua Chamberlain1 year ago

        How about Native Americans?

        1. Anonymous1 year ago


        2. Anonymous1 year ago

          Problem with Native Americans is that the term has at least three meanings. One is anyone who is born in America. A second is American Indian. The third is a larger ethnological grouping that includes American Indians but also includes Aleuts and Inuit (Eskimos). I’m starting to like the Canadian term “First Nations”.

      2. Anonymous1 year ago

        That would be the most accurate. But don’t matter. If you were born in this country, you’re as native as it gets.

  5. Fabi2 years ago

    Ms. Wang,

    Why is this research worthwhile? Is marrying out the holy grail? What has it done for the American Indians?
    Why not research the Public School System? Are there ways to improve this broken system?

    2. For the one who commented that Sime Hispanics are now counted as White, does that mean that racial categories are not rooted in biology? How did the Hispanics morph into Europeans in the span of just a few years?

    1. reg buc2 years ago

      good question ! most Mexican probably have more Indian blood that European they
      can make any body white except Blacks

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Some Mexicans are tilted way more in the Native American direction than others, but for what it’s worth, regions in Mexico that are most likely to be sources of migrants to the US tend to be more in the Spanish direction. Think about Guadalajara, for example- that’s the number one source of Mexican immigrants per capita (although not by a large margin) and that’s a region known for men with the bushy mustaches that can be curled and whatnot (which is a clue that they’re almost entirely Spanish), along with a slew of cultural touchstones fairly unique to Guadalajara that Hollywood has seized upon in order to characterize all of Mexico that way….

        In addition to those type of people, of course there are millions of Mexicans who are just straight up natives without any (or hardly any) Spanish in them at all. And some of those people have left Mexico in order to find work as well. But for the record, American residents of Mexican descent are marginally more likely to lean in the Spanish direction- or, at the very least, they lean more in that direction than the overall Mexican baseline that continues to live in Mexico.

        1. Anonymous1 year ago

          And that is the problem. There are other groups of Hispanics here in the USA that are from countries such as Cuba for example, that do not have Native American blood, but have a combination of Iberian Peninsula, Greek, Italian, Irish and trace of Northern Africa, like Moroco. These people should be considered white, as white as say the Italians or Greeks who have similar genetic make up. However, here in the USA these other groups of Hispanics are grouped in together with the Mexicans that form the majority.

        2. Paul Paleo1 year ago

          And that is the problem. There are other groups of Hispanics here in the USA that are from countries such as Cuba for example, that do not have Native American blood, but have a combination of Iberian Peninsula, Greek, Italian, Irish and trace of Northern Africa, like Moroco. These people should be considered white, as white as say the Italians or Greeks who have similar genetic make up. However, here in the USA these other groups of Hispanics are grouped in together with the Mexicans that form the majority.

          1. Anonymous1 year ago

            Why is that problematic?

      2. Anonymous1 year ago

        The average Mexican is closer to 50/50, and individuals are individuals. Mexico is a melting pot like most of the Americas, and there is more in the pot than just Spanish and Indigenous peoples. FYI, the indigenous peoples of Mexico vary a lot too; they are not one homogenous group.

    2. Ray Mack2 years ago

      It’s worthwhile because myself and others are curious about the trends, especially those who are part of the trend.

    3. Man of Sin2 years ago

      Spain is Europe…

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      Modern Hispanic people are a mix of Indian and Spanish blood lines. Spain is a part of Europe, and white. Just being accurate.

  6. Interesting2 years ago

    I was surprised with the percentage of black American women in interracial marriage has increased over the years cause years ago it was 9% of black American/African American women marrying outside their race but now it has increased to 12% now, which I think will steadily increase and has to do with the fact that the new generation of African American women are rebelling against the social stigmas of Interracial marriage when it comes to Black women in America and how they are marrying out due to less educated and successful men in their community to find(since their are more educated black women then Black men in America). However I was also surprised that the percentage for African American men is on a stand still, it hasn’t increased at all but maybe if non-married African American men were included in this study there would have been a jump in those numbers.

    Lastly I think its important to distinguish between foreign Blacks(Black Africans, Black Caribbean’s, Black Hispanics, Blacks born from immigrant parents) vs African American’s when it comes to this type of research cause the marriage patterns of foreign blacks tend to be very different from African americans.

  7. Danny Park2 years ago

    According to the PEW Research Center, American-born Asian males (41%) vs females (50%) are the highest of any minority in terms of marrying out. The big delta is between the foreign-born Asian men and foreign born Asian females. I think this is important to note.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Good point

  8. god2 years ago

    South Asians, Southeast Asians and East Asians are three very different races. Please.
    And Middle Easterners and Whites are also very different races

    1. Man of Sin2 years ago

      No they are not.

  9. Mike Dolphgren2 years ago

    So it actually went down for whites? Good news, though expected by most who have been paying attention. It was at 9%, but I think we can expect it to eventually go to 5% or below in the next decade.

    It will likely continue to drop as asians and mestizos as well, as they have more choices from within their own respective racial groups, instead of being forced to marry a white if they want to marry at all.

    This was predicted over half a decade ago. As the asian population and hispanic populations rise, expect interracial marriage rates to continue to drop. Like the spanish and native women of centuries ago, interracial couplings in the modern area are usually the result of lack of choice of potential spouses from within ones own group.

    1. Austin2 years ago

      I assure it has not gone down, it’s because the designation for races has been changed to include white Hispanic,

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Why shouldn’t it? Hispanic comes from “Hispania” which means the Iberian peninsula (Spain & Portugal).
        A Hispanic person of Spanish descent is European. How are they different from other Southern Europeans?
        Do you consider a person of, say, Italian heritage to be non-white too?

        Latin American countries have many immigrants, just like the US, and not all are mixed race. There are individuals who have a fully European ancestry, even if culturally they are “Hispanic”.

    2. Caging G (Caging101)1 year ago

      Your assessment is not true based on global trends. The best compare is another Anglophile country the UK. And figures are rising there safely. Within all social classes. Just sharing. But the US seems to segment more then others. And this obsession with race is not really relevant when culture culture and economics is the largest influence to any marriage and marrying patterns globally.

  10. min zee2 years ago

    People of Mexican origin are known as the “cosmic” race, as Mexican are and always have been an interethnic and interracial group of people. How do you categorize this group in your study?

    1. ito2 years ago

      I would like some more expanded info on this, as well.