More accepting professed beliefs do not seem to be the main cause of the rise in the number interracial couples.
Yet the rates of intermarriage among different racial/ethnic groups show very different trends.
In the chart below, the blue trend line is our estimate of the rate of intermarriage if the demographics of the young married population had not changed since 1980 – the orange line shows the actual increase.
While there is still an increase, it is not even close to what we saw in the first chart.
Americans on whether they believed it was acceptable for Blacks and Whites to date each other.
At that time, less than 50% of Americans thought interracial dating was acceptable. Our examination of the data suggests that the increasing rate of intermarriage may be driven by demographic changes more than changing attitudes.
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.
In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on the side of the couple.
Thus, White people were roughly six times more likely than random to marry another White person.
By 2014, however, Whites were only four times more likely than random to marry another White person.
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.
This is because Whites make up the majority of married people – though their share is decreasing.