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We are constantly lectured by unpaid interns at online magazines about just how virulently sexist and racist America was until, well, some dim point in the distant past before they started paying attention, such as 2005. In reality, a lot of attitudes changed quickly and fairly smoothly a long time ago due to the Sixties social revolution.
For example, the propensity toward interracial marriage among people under 35 way back in 1980 was already 72% as great as it is today.
By Dan Kopf · 11,234 views · More stats …
So what would America’s intermarriage rate look like if the country had not become more diverse? In the chart [above], the blue trend line is our estimate of the rate of intermarriage if the demographics of the young married population had not changed since 1980 – the orange line shows the actual increase.
While there is still an increase, it is not even close to what we saw in the first chart.
Our “no-demographic change” estimate suggests that intermarriage would have only risen to 6.7% if demographics had not changed – a 1.9% increase, dramatically smaller than the 8.6% increase actually observed.
In other words, changing beliefs is responsible for only a fraction of the increasing intermarriage rate.
In other other words, controlling for demographics, the propensity toward interracial marriage (counting Hispanics as a race) was 72% as great in 1980 as it is today. In other words, there was already quite a lot of propensity toward interracial marriage in 1980, 36 years ago. What has changed most since 1980 is not social attitudes but numbers.