Bloomberg News

Census Bureau Says 1 in 10 Marriages Are Interracial

April 25, 2012

A wedding in Atlanta. Photographer: Robin Nelson/Zuma Press

A wedding in Atlanta. Photographer: Robin Nelson/Zuma Press

The number of interracial married couples in the U.S. jumped by almost one-third during the last decade to include almost 1 of every 10 family households, the Census Bureau said today.

Couples consisting of white non-Hispanics and Hispanics made up the largest share of interracial households, accounting for 37.6 percent of the tally. Households consisting of Asians and whites were the second-most common, at 13.7 percent of interracial couples, the bureau said. Marriages between blacks and whites made up about 8 percent of interracial households.

The ranks of unmarried interracial couples rose to 18 percent from 15 percent in 2000. About 21 percent of same-sex unmarried couples consisted of people of different races or ethnicities.

“Households are becoming more diverse,” Daphne Lofquist, a statistician with the bureau’s fertility and family statistics branch, said in a telephone briefing.

States with the highest percentage of mixed-race couples were primarily in the West and Southwestern U.S., the bureau said.

Even with diverse family relationships becoming more common, the Census Bureau said nonfamily households grew twice as fast as family households from 2000. The 39 million nonfamily households represented a 16 percent increase compared with the 8 percent increase to about 78 million for families. There were 116.7 million total households in the U.S. in 2010.

Below 50 Percent

The growth in nonfamily households has come at the expense of married-couple households, which fell below 50 percent of all U.S. households for the first time since the Census Bureau began collecting family relationship data in 1940.

“It’s one of the biggest changes we’ve seen over the 20th century, and it continues into the 21st century,” Lofquist said.

Nonfamily households, which primarily include people living alone, were most common in the upper Midwest, which has higher concentrations of senior citizens, and along the East Coast, with young professionals. Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, and Alexandria, Virginia, had the highest percentages of single- person households, with individuals making up more than 43 percent of all households.

Explaining the draw of the nation’s capital, Rose Kreider, chief of the bureau’s fertility and family statistics branch, said, “The population has a lot of people who come there to start their careers.”

The report also showed the number of multigenerational households grew to 5.1 million in 2010, a 30.8 percent increase from 2000. Families with more than two generations living together now account for 4.4 percent of all households. Hawaii had the highest percentage, with 1 in 12 households consisting of multigenerational families.

To contact the reporter on this story: Frank Bass in New York at fbass1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark McQuillan in Washington at mmcquillan@bloomberg.net


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