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All in the family? Report finds growing acceptance of interracial marriage in US

Couples gather on the steps of the Arizona Supreme Court for a mass wedding ceremony Tuesday to mark Valentine's Day. A new report says interracial marriages in the U.S. have climbed to a record high.

As the number of interracial marriages in the U.S. continues to rise, so does Americans’ acceptance of them, a new Pew Research Center report finds.

The report, “The Rise of Intermarriage,” analyzed characteristics of people who marry spouses of a different race or ethnicity. It was based on Census data and on findings from nationwide telephone surveys conducted by Pew.

It found that about 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity, more than double the share in 1980. The share of intermarriages among all married couples, regardless of when they married, hit an all-time high of 8.4 percent. That’s up from 3.2 percent in 1980.


Among newlyweds in 2010, Asians, at 28 percent, and Hispanics, at 26 percent, were most likely to “marry out,” followed by blacks, at 17 percent. Whites, at 9 percent, were least likely to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity. (The report noted whites are by far the largest racial group in the U.S., so even though their intermarriage rate is relatively low, marriages between whites and minority groups are the most common.)

The data also suggest Americas are much more tolerant and accepting of interracial marriage.

A record number of Americans are marrying outside their own race, according to a new Pew report. Msnbc's Thomas Roberts discusses the study with TheGrio.com's David Love.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 63 percent, say it “would be fine” if a member of their own family were to marry someone outside their racial or ethnic group. In 1986, the public was divided about this, with 28 percent of Americans saying people of different races marrying each other was not acceptable for anyone and 33 percent viewing intermarriage as acceptable for everyone.

More than four in 10 Americans, 43 percent, say that more people of different races marrying each other has been a change for the better in our society, while 11 percent say it has been a change for the worse and 44 percent say it has made no difference.

Msnbc.com asked its Facebook followers about their experience with interracial marriage, and several agreed America is becoming more tolerant.

“People are much more accepting now than ever,” wrote Leonard Paul Hotkowski. “I'm white male, her black female. Tends to be that we get a bit of attitude from other black women. Not all black women though, just a specific type of black women. Some older white people in my family also aren't as accepting but overall society I feel looks at us in a good light.”

Read more from our Facebook readers on their interracial marriage experiences

“I think that no matter what there will always be people who don’t understand that we didn’t set out looking for one particular ethnic group,” wrote Eva Colin, who is white and whose husband is Hispanic. “We just fell in love. The thought we might upset anyone because of who we are just didn’t matter.”

Patrice Stallings Sharon said she is a black woman married to a white/Hispanic man.

"I also feel that it is accepted much more these days than ever before, but I also believe depending where you live,” she wrote. "We currently live in a military town filled with interracial couples and children. We are in the process of moving to Fort Worth, TX in a few weeks... and the looks we get are UNREAL! I personally get very upset at the stares and angry looks my family receives. But my husband is very tolerant of it. People stare at my daughter all the time and even ask me if she belongs to me, and proceeds to tell me that she just looks Hispanic. I feel like I need to carry her birth certificate around at times.”

The Pew report noted that for most of the nation's history, a majority of states had laws that made it illegal for whites and nonwhites to marry. Interracial marriage in the U.S. wasn’t fully legal in all states until a 1967 Supreme Court ruling deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

Read the full Pew report on interracial marriage

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