If you had any doubt that legislative changes and political battles were worth the fight to improve lives and relationships, this study will slash it. According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, 1 out of 10 married Americans (or 11 million total) have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, making that number the highest ever in American history. Progress!
One in 6 American newlyweds (17 percent) were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2015. Compare that number to the dismal 3 percent in 1967 — the year the Supreme Court ruled in the Loving v. Virginia decision that interracial marriages were legal — and it’s easy to see how this new data shows just how momentous that ruling was.
Other notable statistics from the analysis: The most common interracial marriages were between Hispanic and white spouses at 42 percent, followed white and Asian spouses (15 percent), and white/multiracial spouses (12 percent). Black newlyweds had the most dramatic increase from 5 to 18 percent (triple the number since 1980).
So which places had the lowest percentages of interracial marriages? Asheville, North Carolina, and Jackson, Mississippi, both with 3 percent. This drastic difference points to a significant number of intermarried couples living in metropolitan areas (18 percent) vs. non-metro areas (11 percent).
And while many Americans welcome this upward trend and hope it continues to grow, there are plenty who, bafflingly and depressingly, still don’t embrace interracial marriages. Pew data reports that 13 percent of adults in the South say that more interracial marriage is a bad thing for society, with 11 percent of those living in the Midwest feeling the same. Wow. Really, guys?
The report also pointed out the substantial difference between how Democrats and Republicans feel about interracial relationships. About 49 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents see intermarriage as a good thing for society (which actually seems kind of low!), while less than 1 in 3, or 28 percent, of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents see it the same.
Getting a little heated just reading that? Scroll back up to the part that made you smile about 1 in 10 Americans marrying partners of another race. We are going in the right direction, regardless of how much some people might try to stop us. If we all stay engaged and active in the fight against bigotry and hate, open-mindedness and progress will win out in the end — the numbers are proof.