Census: Interracial Marriage May Be On The Decline

By Jamilah King May 26, 2010

The latest Census figures on interracial marriage are out, and while they show a slight overall increase, recent immigration trends and what the Post calls "white backlash" appears to be having a significant impact on the dating game in Asian and Latino communities. The Washington Post reported this morning that about eight percent of US marriages are mixed race, up slightly from seven percent in 2000. Interracial marriages are actually slowing among U.S.-born Latinos and Asians, while Black folks are three times more likely to marry whites than in 1980. According to recently released figures, marriages between U.S. and foreign-born Latinos doubled — 12.5 percent for men and 17.1 percent for women, while marriages between U.S. and foreign-born Asians have increased as much as five times the amount in 1980.

"The latest trend belies notions of the U.S. as a post-racial, assimilated society. Demographers cite a steady flow of recent immigration that has given Hispanics and Asians more ethnically similar partners to choose from while creating some social distance from whites due to cultural and language differences. White wariness toward a rapidly growing U.S. minority population also may be contributing to racial divisions, experts said."

We tracked that wariness a few months ago in ColorLines to show that all isn’t pretty — or post racial — in today’s America. According to ColorLines editor Kai Wright:

"All of this will eventually shape every aspect of American life. Young, colored folks will drive the economy, the culture, the politics – and the country’s rapidly shrinking, white-dominated enclaves will grow increasingly defensive about that fact."

Some of the other interesting findings: the Census Bureau estimates that multiracial Americans will be a majority by mid-Century; Hawaii had the highest number of mixed race marriages at 32 percent, followed by unassuming states like Alaska and Oklahoma; and even though Mississippi was in the bottom five percent of mixed marriages nationally, it showed the fastest growth of all states in interracial marriage since 2000.