This report is based primarily on two data sources: the Pew Research Center's analysis of demographic data about new marriages in 2008 from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) and the Pew Research Center's analysis of its own data from a nationwide telephone survey conducted from October 28 through November 30, 2009 among a nationally representative sample of 2,884 adults. For more information about data sources and methodology, see the Appendix III.
A record 14.6% of all new marriages in the United States in 2008 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from each other, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
That figure is an estimated six times the intermarriage1 rate among newlyweds in 1960 and more than double the rate in 1980.
This dramatic increase has been driven in part by the weakening of longstanding cultural taboos against intermarriage and in part by a large, multi-decade wave of immigrants from Latin America and Asia.
In 1961, the year Barack Obama's parents were married, less than one in 1,000 new marriages in the United States was, like theirs, the pairing of a black person and a white person, according to Pew Research estimates. By 1980, that share had risen to about one in 150 new marriages. By 2008, it had risen to one-in-sixty.
Read the full report Marrying Out: One-in-Seven New U.S. Marriages is Interracial or Interethnic on the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends Web site.