Interracial marriage in the USA reached an all-time high in 2010: 8.4% of all marriages, compared with 3.2% in 1980, finds a Pew Research Center study, released today, that analyzes unions between spouses of different races or ethnic groups.
Among marriages in 2010, 15% of couples married outside their race or ethnicity. "Interracial marriage has gone from taboo to a rarity, and with each passing year, it's less of a rarity," says Pew's Paul Taylor. Pew reviewed Census data from more than 850,000 people in the American Community Survey between 2008 and 2010.
Two takes on this trend. One is by the Welsh geneticist Steve Jones; the other by the American biologist Christopher Wills. Jones more or less sees this as the end, the culmination of human evolution as it is understood in Darwinian terms (after the war, the lovemaking). Wills sees it as the point at which human evolution begins to accelerate like never before. Wills thinks that diversity will not homogenize us but open us to new genetic possibilities. Diversity will make us more diverse. You can read about Wills' position in Children Of Prometheus: The Accelerating Pace Of Human Evolution, and Jones in The Language of the Genes. Jones' book is better written; Wills' has better ideas.
This is also interesting:
Among blacks, 24% of newlywed men married outside their race, compared with 9% of women. Among Asians, the opposite is true: 36% of women married outside their race, compared with 17% of men.
Of the 20 or so cousins I have on my mother's side of the family—the more honest, decent, and affluent side of my little world—90% percent of the men are married to women of another race, whereas 90% of the women are married to men of the same race. It's just something to think about.