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More Mixed Race Marriages Than Ever

A new study of interracial marriages in the United States since the 1980s suggests that the racial boundary between blacks and whites continues to break down--but is not yet close to disappearing. And sociologists have some advice for single black women who want to marry: If a black marriage partner is hard to find, they should look for a white spouse, as there is no longer a significant social barrier to interracial marriage.

Marriages between African Americans and whites increased rapidly between 1980 and 2008, outpacing the rate of unions between whites and other ethnic and racial groups, including Latinos, Asian Americans and American Indians. Sociologist Zhenchao Qian says, "The number of marriages between whites and African Americans is undeniably increasing rapidly, but it is still a small number."

One factor that may have "helped" this is the wars we are now fighting, since many more women are enlisting than ever before, and the military is one of the best-integrated societies in the US. In 1980, only 5% of black men married a white woman, but that increased to 14% in 2008. Still, by comparison, 38% of Asian American men and Hispanic men married a white woman in 2008. Qian says, "Our results point to better race relations in 2008 than 1980, but we still have a way to go. The racial boundary is blurred, but it is still there."

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