The percentage of Americans who are married to a member of a different race or ethnicity has reached an all-time high as the practice has gained broad societal acceptance, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.
Interracial marriages comprised about 15 percent of new marriages in 2010, more than double the 6.7 percent rate in 1980. The American public's views on interracial marriage have shifted over the same period: almost two-thirds of Americans said they were fine with a family member marrying someone of a different race, a vast increase from the one-third of Americans who said that in 1986.
That increased acceptance of interracial marriage parallels the increased intermingling of American society. 8.4 percent of all marriages are now interracial, a sharp rise from the 3.2 percent level in 1980. 43 percent of people said interracial marriage was good for society and 44 percent said it made no difference; a mere 11 percent believed it was detrimental.
The study also revealed some interesting gender-related patterns. Black men were far more likely than black women to marry outside their race. That finding was reversed for Asians, with Asian women more than twice as likely to marry outside their race than Asian men.