Interracial and inter-ethnic marriages continue to increase in the United States and the greatest growth has occurred among Hispanics and Asians, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.
The report, which is based on Census data, says that the number of new marriages with partners of different races or ethnicities increased by 15.1 percent in 2010, while the number of marriages that are classified as interracial stood at 8.4 percent, a record high.
According to Pew, Asians and Hispanics are the two groups with the highest levels of interracial marriages. In 2010, more than a quarter of the people who had recently married in each of those groups exchanged wedding vows with someone of another race or ethnicity.
While 17 percent of recently married African Americans went to the altar with someone of a different race, just 9 percent of whites did, the lowest level among the groups examined.
Among blacks and Asians, there were “significant differences” by gender. Black men are more than twice as likely as African American women to marry outside their race. And Asian women are significantly more likely to marry outside their race than Asian men.
In contrast, among whites and Hispanics there are no differences among genders in terms of marrying outside one’s race or ethnicity.
Interracial marriages are more frequent among people born in the United States than among immigrants: U.S.-born Hispanics are three times more likely than those who came from abroad to marry outside their group, according to the study.
The document also says that interracial marriages are more common in the West, with 22 percent of recently married people in that area having married someone of a different race or ethnicity between 2008 and 2010, compared with 14 percent in the South, 13 percent in the Northeast and 11 percent in the Midwest.
During a good part of U.S. history, it was against the law for whites to marry people of other races and even after the Supreme Court annulled the last of those laws, in 1967, interracial marriages continued, in large measure, to be a taboo subject.
In 1980, just 3 percent of marriages were between people of different races or ethnicities, and less than 7 percent of recently married people had married someone of another race or ethnicity, Pew found.