And younger clients are more willing to date outside their race than older clients. A recent report from the Pew Research Center found that one in seven new marriages in 2008 was either interracial or between a Hispanic and a non-Hispanic—unions encompassed by the term "intermarriages." This is double the percentage of intermarriages in 1980, but still relatively low.
And, as sociologist Dan Lichter points out, the biggest increase appears to be within minority groups. Interestingly, although younger people were more accepting of intermarriage, the Pew report found little difference in actual intermarriage rates by age—newlyweds age 50 or older were about as likely to marry out as younger newlyweds.
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There has been much speculation about why these gender preferences exist—reasons that delve into racial stereotypes and politics.
Hispanic men and women are about as likely to marry outside their ethnic group, and they tend to marry non-Hispanic whites more than other groups.
Less than 3 percent of all marriages were interracial in 1960, and the public generally disapproved of such unions. Not surprisingly, this transformation is most evident among young people.
A recent study of profiles submitted to the online dating website showed, for example, that whites are more open to dating Hispanics and Asians than blacks are.
Only 11 percent of 2008 intermarriages were between black and white Americans, reflecting the persistent cultural resistance against relationships between these races.
Most common were marriages between a white and a Hispanic (41 percent), followed by marriage between a white and an Asian American (15 percent).
Figure 2 White Men and Women Who "Married Out" in 2008 by Race/Ethnicity of Spouse Note: "Other" includes American Indians, people identifying with more than one race, and "some other race." Source: Paul Taylor et al., These 2008 marriages follow similar patterns by sex as interracial marriages of previous decades.
For whites, men and women are about as likely to marry a Hispanic, but differ in their rates of marriage to blacks and Asians (see Figure 2).