Interracial couple

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An interracial couple is a romantic couple or marriage in which the partners are of differing races.



Historically, there have been controversies over interracial couples, for reasons of racist origin, such as fears of "racial impurity". South Africa, Canada, Australia and the United States are but a few countries that have had regulations banning interracial marriage. As of 2005, no countries have laws against miscegenation, but opposition to interracial marriages remains part of the program of parties such as the British National Party.

US and interracial couples

"In Social Trends in America and Strategic Approaches to the Negro Problem," Gunnar Myrdal (1948) ranks the reasons for segregation according to Southern whites in the 1930s and 40s from least to most important: jobs, courts and police, politics, basic public facilities, “social equality” including dancing, handshaking, and most important, marriage. This ranking scheme seems to have been relatively upheld well into the 1960s. Of less importance was the segregation in basic public facilities, which was abolished with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And the most important reason for segregation, marriage, was not fully overcome until the last anti-miscegenation laws were stuck down later in 1967.

In 1967, Loving v. Virginia struck down the last of the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, and with this, the frontier of available marriage choices shifted out. The number of interracial marriages in the United States has been on the rise: 310,000 in 1970, 651,000 in 1980, and 1,161,000 in 1992 according to the US Bureau of the Census 1993. Interracial marriages represented .7% of all marriages in 1970 to 1.3% in 1980, to 2.2% in 1992. However, black-white marriages still tend to be the most controversial in the public eye. From a recent poll of 1,314 Americans of all races, it was noted that 3 in 10 people are against black-white marriage, but are more willing to accept white-Hispanic or white-Asian marriages (Ford 2003).

Interracial marriage disparities for certain races

Although mixed-race partnering has increased, the United States still shows huge disparities between black male and black female endogamy statistics. The 1990 Census reports that 17.6% of black marriages occur with whites. Yet, it is found that black men are 2.5 times more likely to be married to a white woman than a black woman to a white man. Indeed, when racial group size is controlled, white women are most likely to participate in exogamy.

There is also a disparity between Asian women and Asian men - according to the Census data from 2000, Asian women were 2.5 times more likely to be married to a White male than Asian males married to a White female. (For comparison purposes, Japanese males married foreign wives 4 times more often than Japanese females married foreign males according to recent data [1] (

A new term has arisen recently to describe the social phenomenon of the 'marriage squeeze' for African-American females. The marriage squeeze refers to the belief that the most eligible and desirable black men out marry leaving black women with fewer partnering options.

Education and interracial marriage

Using PUMS data from both the 1980 and 1990 U.S. Census to determine trends among interracial marriage among whites, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans, it may be seen that endogamy (marrying within race) was more prevalent for African American men at lower educational levels. In 1980, the numbers were as follows: African American males without a high school diploma participated in endogamy at 96.5%, for those who received a high school diploma, 95.6%, for a college degree and above the percentage of endogamy dropped to 94.0%. However, the rates for African American women changed very little with different educational attainment levels. For the African American woman who had not received a high school diploma the rate is 98.7%, high school diploma is 98.6%, with some college it is 98.2%, and college degree and more, 98.5%. And, during this time, there was a significant increase in marriages between whites and African Americans maintaining that African Americans are most likely to marry whites over other groups.

However, the 1990 results seem more promising for such students as the rates of endogamy dropped for both males and females, albeit more for the African American male. In 1990, a black male with a college degree and more was participating in endogamy at 90.4%, for a black female with the same educational attainment level, 96.4%. The results for the propensity of individuals at higher educational attainment levels to participate less in endogamy over the 10 year period were similar across races, including whites, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.

Immigrants and interracial marriage

It is found that racial endogamy is much stronger for immigrants as compared to natives; it is 4.9 times more likely for black immigrants than for African-Americans. Additionally, black immigrants have the highest rates of endogamy of immigrants. Also, black immigrants are much more likely to marry other same-race immigrants and African-Americans, than to out-marry racially. Native-born whites are also 1.6 times more likely to marry a native-born black than an immigrant counterpart. Immigrant black women are generally more likely to marry native-born whites than their male counterparts.

Cohabitation and interracial marriage

Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be married to a white spouse and 3.3 times more likely to be cohabitating with a white person, as compared to their black female counterparts. Research yields that 7% of married black men are with white wives and 15% of black men cohabit with white women.

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