US & Canada

Interracial marriage at new US high

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Image caption 43% of all new interracial marriages were Hispanic-White

Interracial and interethnic marriages are at an all-time high in the US, according to a new study.

In 2010, 15% of all new marriages were between couples of a difference race or ethnic group, up from 7% in 1980.

The study, done by Pew Research Center also shows increasing public acceptance of intermarriage, with 43% saying it as been a societal change for the better.

Asian and Hispanic newlyweds were the most likely to marry someone across racial or ethnic lines.

The US Supreme Court barred states from using race-based restrictions on marriage in 1967. In 2000, Alabama became the last state to remove its unenforceable ban on intermarriage.

"In the past century, intermarriage has evolved from being illegal, to be a taboo and then to be merely unusual," Paul Taylor, director of Pew's Social & Demographic Trends said. "And with each passing year, it becomes less unusual.''

'Part of their lives'

In 2010, the total number of all intermarried couples in the US reached an all-time high of 8.4%.

Mr Taylor said that while high, interracial marriages among Hispanics and Asians may be slowing recently as recent immigration provides ethnically similar partners.

However, the growing number of interrace and interethnic marriages is a long-term trend, he said.

"Behaviours have changed and attitudes have changed," Mr Taylor said. "For younger Americans, racial and ethnic diversity are a part of their lives."

In new study, nearly two-thirds of Americans said it "would be fine" if a member of their own family were to marry outside their race.

In 1986, a similar set of questions suggested the US was more divided, with 28% saying intermarriage was not acceptable at all, and 37% saying it was not acceptable for themselves.

Marriage across racial lines is more common in the Western states, with about 20% of new marriages between 2008 and 2010, compared to 14% in the South and 13% in the Northeast.

In Hawaii, more than four in 10 of all new marriages were between different races.

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