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There are also fewer White people – the group that has always been least likely to intermarry.Once these demographic changes are accounted for, a large portion of the increase in intermarriage rates vanishes.In 1980, less than 4% of all married Black people under the age of 35 were not married to other black people. But Black people only made up between six to seven percent of the total under 35 married population during this period.So while this is a substantial increase, it accounts for less than 1% of the overall increase in interracial marriages.This next chart displays intermarriage rates across time for the America’s four major racial/ethnic groups for the same period.The most dramatic change over the last several decades is the number of Blacks intermarrying.Jeter, a Black and Native American woman, and Loving, a White man, fell in love and decided to get married.
So what would America’s intermarriage rate look like if the country had not become more diverse?
The were between Blacks and Whites, nearly twenty times higher than in 1950.
And more than 15% were “intermarriages” – marriages between people who don’t identify as the same racial or ethnic group, up from 6.7% in 1980.
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.
For example, in 1980, 17% of the young married population was not White.