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About 44 percent of the population under age 18 in 2009 was Hispanic, black, Asian, or another non-white group, compared with about 35 percent of the total U. The Pew survey reported that one-third of respondents said they had a family member married to someone of another race or ethnic group.
This percentage will only increase for Americans of all races and ethnic groups—especially as the children of these marriages grow up—further expanding the definition of "acceptable" dates and spouses, and likely accelerating the trend toward intermarriage.
One prime reason is that the population is becoming increasingly diverse—culturally, ethnically, and racially.
Americans reaching marriage age over the next two decades are probably the most racially diverse generation ever, and it will be surprising if they do not intermarry more often than previous generations. In addition, more Americans have personal experience with intermarriages involving their families, friends, and work colleagues, which lends a normalcy to these unions.
About one-quarter of Hispanic men and women married non-Hispanics in 2008.
But the Pew report already documented a recent uptick in intermarriage among Hispanics and Asians, as immigration has slowed and the proportion of Hispanics and Asians who were born in the United States has grown.
Interracial marriage was even illegal in at least 15 U. As the education and income gaps between racial and ethnic groups shrank, so did the social distance between them.
This demographic change has other effects: Foreign-born Asians are less likely to marry out than U.
Hispanic men and women are about as likely to marry outside their ethnic group, and they tend to marry non-Hispanic whites more than other groups.
The likelihood of choosing a marriage partner of another race or ethnic group is also influenced by the available pool of people of the appropriate age and with a similar educational background, because most people marry someone close in age and educational level. whites—long the racial majority—have the lowest intermarriage rates, followed by blacks.
Researchers point out that people are more likely to marry outside their race/ethnicity when their pool of potential spouses of the same race/ethnicity is smaller, and vice versa. Both white and black Americans have plenty of potential partners within their own groups.
Asians, on the other hand, make up only about 4 percent of the U. population, which gives them fewer choices among other Asians. Nearly 31 percent of Asians marrying in 2008 had a non-Asian spouse, about the same percentage as in 1980.