Here are quotes from the summary of the new Pew report on interracial marriage in 2008. Note a few things. This is based on the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey of 3 million people, not the decennial enumeration of 100 times that number Plus, note the distinction between newlyweds and married couples: people who get married in 2008 versus people who are married in 2008. So, there could be some sample size issues versus the actual Census. Still, when you start with 3 million people, you can slice and dice pretty far.
Also, 41% of babies born in 2008 were illegitimate, so marriage stats tend to look at what the upper 3/5ths or so of society are doing. Only about 28% of babies born to black women were legitimate and only 49% of babies born to Hispanics were legitimate, so marriage behavior and mating behavior are increasingly disconnected.
Even with that sharp increase, however, black-white couplings represented only about one-in-nine of the approximately 280,000 new interracial or interethnic marriages in 2008.
White-Hispanic couples accounted for about four-in-ten (41%) of such new marriages; white-Asian couples made up 15%; and white-black couples made up 11%.
I.e., “nonwhites” include Hispanics who self-identify as whites. Also, there’s no multi-ethnic category as there is a multi-racial category, so a lot of these Hispanics marrying non-Hispanic whites might be actually half or a quarter Hispanic. So, for example, if blonde actress Cameron Diaz, daughter of an American-born Cuban father and an Old American (English, German, Cherokee) mother who grew up on the beach in Southern California, married, say, ex-boyfriend Matt Dillon, it would, theoretically, count as an “interracial marriage.”
The remaining third consisted of marriages in which each spouse was a member of a different minority group or in which at least one spouse self-identified as being American Indian or of mixed or multiple races.
Of the 3.8 million adults who married in 2008, 9% of whites, 16% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 31% of Asians married someone whose race or ethnicity was different from their own.
For whites these shares are more than double what they had been in 1980 and for blacks they are nearly triple. For Hispanics and Asians, by contrast, these rates are little changed from 1980. High levels of Hispanic and Asian immigration over the past several decades helped drive both seemingly contradictory trends.
For whites and blacks, the new immigrants and (increasingly) their now grown U.S.-born children have enlarged the pool of potential partners for marrying outside one’s own racial or ethnic group. But for Hispanics and Asians, the ongoing immigration wave has greatly enlarged the pool of potential partners for in-group marrying.
Gender: Among blacks and Asians, there are stark differences by gender in the tendency to marry outside their own racial group. Some 22% of all black male newlyweds in 2008 married outside their race, compared with just 9% of black female newlyweds. Among Asians, the gender pattern runs the opposite way. Some 40% of Asian female newlyweds in 2008 married outside their race, compared with just 20% of Asian male newlyweds.
Among whites and Hispanics, by contrast, there are no gender differences in intermarriage rates.
Correction – That’s looking at black or Asian intermarriage rates with everybody else, when what people are most interested in (and what my 1990s and 2000s articles were about) is black-white or white-Asian intermarriage. My earlier articles looked at white-black and white-Asian rates, not black-all other and Asian-all other.
Plus, that’s just looking at percentages of people who got married, when a big issue is that fewer black women than black men and fewer Asian men than Asian women were getting married to anybody. Pew should give us the raw counts of interracial marriages in 2008 rather than putting everything in percentage terms, which can be misleading and confusing. Unfortunately, they don’t.
Another way to look at this is that white men in 2008 were 3.90 times as likely to marry an Asian woman as a black woman, while white women were only 0.47 times as likely to marry an Asian man as a black man. (See p. 10 of the full report.) That’s a big difference.
I’m tempted to divide 3.90 by 0.47 to come up with 8.33, but 8.33 what? What does 8.33 mean, if anything? One reason the prose style is so polished in my 1997 “Is Love Colorblind?” is that it took me a long time to get to the point that I was confident I was handling the algebra in a humanly meaningful way.
Also, the Asian population has shifted considerably in the direction of South Asians since 1990, who are rather different from East Asians in marital behavior.
About 9% of both male and female white newlyweds in 2008 married a nonwhite spouse and about a quarter of both male and female Hispanic newlyweds in 2008 married someone who is not Hispanic.
States and Regions: Intermarriage in the United States tilts West. About one-in-five (21%) of all newlyweds in Western states married someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2008, compared with 13% in the South and Northeast and 11% in the Midwest. All nine states with out-marriage rates of 20% or more in 2008 are situated west of the Mississippi River: Hawaii (43%); Nevada (28%); Oregon (24%); Oklahoma (23%); California (22%); New Mexico (22%); Colorado (21%); Arizona (21%); and Washington (20%). (See Appendix III for a fifty state table).
Regional out-marriage patterns vary in other ways. For example, blacks who live in the West are three times as likely to out-marry as are blacks who live in the South and twice as likely as blacks in the Northeast or Midwest.
Among Hispanics, by contrast, the highest rate of out-marriage is in the Midwest (41%) reflecting a general tendency for out-marriage rates to be higher among smaller groups.
Blacks who live in places like North Dakota have very high rates of intermarriage with whites: there aren’t many other blacks for them to marry, and many of them got to these kind of states through the military, so they have been preselected for IQ, lawfulness, and have been culturally molded by the military
As for Asians, relatively few live in the South, but those who do are more likely to out-marry (37%) than are those who live in other regions.
The nation’s most populous state, California, presents the following anomaly: in 2008, white (20%) and black (36%) newlyweds were more likely to out-marry than were Hispanics (18%).
That’s what I see every day in California: Latinos with Latinos. This seems especially true for Mexicans, but less true for, say, South Americans. If we assume that LA is test driving the American future, then what we’re likely to see is the whiter shades of Hispanics merging into the white population, but also less and less intermarriage of mestizos as their numbers grow larger.<
In all other states where data are available for these groups, the reverse was true-Hispanic newlyweds out-married at higher rates than did whites or blacks. (See appendix for states and regional table or click here for an interactive map)
Education: Marrying out is more common among adults who attended college than among those who did not, but these differences are not large. Of all newlyweds in 2008, 15.5% of those who attended college married outside their race or ethnicity, compared with 13.5% of those who completed high school and 11.0% of those who did not complete high school.
Nativity Status: Marrying out is much more common among native-born adults than among immigrants. Native-born Hispanics are more than three times as likely as the foreign born to marry a non-Hispanic.
The disparity among native- and foreign-born Asians is not as great, but it is still significant; native-born Asian-Americans are nearly twice as likely as those who are foreign born to marry a non-Asian.
Here again, there are sharp gender differences. Among Asian men, the native born are nearly four times as likely as the foreign born to marry out. Among Asian women, the native born are only about 50% more likely than the foreign born to marry a non-Asian.
So, the gender gap is much smaller among American-born Asians: 39.5% outmarriage for American-born Asian women versus 30.8% among American-born Asian men. Asian parents are intentionally congregating together it certain communities — e.g, largely abandoning the San Fernando Valley in favor of the San Gabriel Valley. This self-segregation in places like Arcadia has a lot of reasons (e.g., control of the public schools), but it also gives their sons a better chance.
This would suggest that fertility is likely a little lower.