Almost half of all Hawaii marriages involve interracial couples

Henrietta Strickland
May 19, 2017

Currently, there are 11 million people-or 1 out of 10 married people-in the United States with a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of US Census Bureau data.

But its popularity varies greatly depending on where one is in the country, and a new study reveals that greater Birmingham has one of the lowest rates of interracial marriage among newlyweds in the U.S.

Since then, many American couples have availed themselves of that right, although white people remain much less likely to marry another race than people of other races, according to a new report from Pew Research. About three in 10, or 29 percent, of Asian newlyweds living in the USA entered an interracial marriage in 2015, according to the report.

Fifty years ago, Richard and Mildred Loving's 1967 Supreme Court case ended state laws against such couplings. For instance, a whopping 42 percent of newlywed couples in Honolulu are intermarried - while just 3 percent of couples in Jackson, Mississippi, and Asheville, North Carolina, have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity.

Honolulu has by far the highest share of intermarried newlyweds of any metro area analyzed.

A sharp political divide regarding intermarriage exists too: almost half of Democrats say the growing number of people of different races marrying each other is a good thing, while just 28 percent of Republicans share that view. About half (49 percent) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say that growing numbers of people marrying others of different races is good for society, compared to more than a quarter (28 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

The next most common pairing is one white and one Asian spouse (15 percent). Among black newlyweds in 2015, 18 per cent were part of an interracial marriage. But the rate of intermarriage has stopped growing among those groups; in 1980, for example, 33% of newlywed Asians were marrying non-Asians.

These areas are characterized by less diversity than their Western counterparts. The increase is the highest it has ever been, with interracial marriages of black people almost tripling from 5 percent to 18 percent since 1980. But it also notes that this trend also holds true for Asian newlyweds who were not born in the U.S.

Intermarriage is relatively uncommon in the Youngstown area as well.

Newlyweds in metropolitan areas are more likely to be intermarried than those living outside those regions (18-11 percent). The second most prevalent pair is white and Asian.

Both decisions showed that "just because you disapprove of the marriage or a person, you can't prevent them from marrying", Coontz said.

One factor that contributes to the low intermarriage rates in these areas may be the lower acceptance of interracial marriage.

"Some 13% of adults in the South say that more interracial marriage is a bad thing for society".

Gretchen Livingston, senior researcher, said Pew data did point to changing attitudes about race and ethnicity.

They conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. "The share of nonwhites saying they would oppose having a family member marry a white person has edged downward as well", according to the report.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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