Barack Obama made history when he became America’s first black president. His parents were pioneers as well: When they wed in 1961, interracial unions were illegal in more than a dozen states and fewer than one in 1,000 new U.S. marriages involved black and white partners. Now it’s one in 60. A recent ...
Pew Research Center analysis shows the trend has spread across races and ethnicities, with mixed unions reaching a record 14.6 percent of new marriages in 2008. The numbers reflect an immigration-fueled rise in the country’s minority populations, along with growing acceptance of mixed couples. (antimiscegenation laws ended in 1967 when the supreme court struck down Virginia’s ban.) Though immigrants do not tend to intermarry, their children do, says Pew senior demographer Jeff Passel. Regionally, the West, with its high percentage of Hispanics and Asians, sees the most intermixing. Notes Passel: “As these couples have children, there will be more fuzziness in how race and ethnic groups are defined.” —Luna Shyr
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