Honolulu ranked first in frequency of interracial marriages

Text Summit Staff

The national conversation about interracial marriages has recently been brought up again due to the 50th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court ruling that made such marriages legal across the U.S., plus the release of a new study that shows a five-fold increase of intermarriages since 1967.

Measuring intermarriage by metro areas in the country between 2011-15, it should be no surprise that Honolulu ranked the highest with 42 percent of marriages between people of different races or ethnicities, this according to the Pew Research Center. Within that number, 34 percent involved Caucasians and 42 percent involved Asians.

The Honolulu number is significantly higher than both the national average and the next-highest location, the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise region in Nevada, measured at 31 percent.

Some interesting national trends and patterns from the study include:

- Overall increases in intermarriage have been fueled in part by rising intermarriage rates among black newlyweds and among white newlyweds. For newly married Hispanics and Asians, the likelihood of intermarriage is closely related to whether they were born in the U.S. or abroad, which is much higher if the former.

- Significant growth in the Hispanic and Asian populations in the U.S. since 1980, coupled with the high rates of intermarriage among Hispanic and Asian newlyweds, has been an important factor driving the rise in intermarriage.

- In 2015, the likelihood of marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity was somewhat higher among newlyweds with at least some college experience than among those with a high school diploma or less. Asians with some college are by far the most likely to have married someone of a different race or ethnicity.

- The link between place of residence and intermarriage varies dramatically for different racial and ethnic groups. The increased racial and ethnic diversity of metro areas means that the supply of potential spouses, too, will likely be more diverse.

Despite the greater number of intermarriages and increasing social acceptance, perspective is important, UC Irvine sociology professor Jennifer Lee recently told SF Gate.

“I think it’s easy to look at trends and think attitudes are improving about race relations,” she said. “Attitudes have shifted and the data has shifted, but interracial marriage is not universal and it’s still not the norm.”

Well, apart from Honolulu and the state as a whole.


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