Jeter, a Black and Native American woman, and Loving, a White man, fell in love and decided to get married.
Our “no-demographic change” estimate suggests that intermarriage would have only risen to 6.7% if demographics had not changed – a 1.9% increase, dramatically smaller than the 8.6% increase actually observed.
For example, in 1980, 17% of the young married population was not White.
This is because Whites make up the majority of married people – though their share is decreasing.
White people made up 83% of the married population in 1980 and 65% in 2014, meaning that the nearly 5% increase in the intermarriage rates of Whites accounts for a little over 4% of the overall increase in intermarriages.
The percentage of intermarried Whites more than tripled from 2.7% in 1980 to 8.5% 2014.
Though this rate of growth is not as high as that of the Black population, it is a larger component of the general rise in intermarriage.
There are also fewer White people – the group that has always been least likely to intermarry.
Once these demographic changes are accounted for, a large portion of the increase in intermarriage rates vanishes.
Only about 17% of young married people were not White in 1980, compared to 35% today.
So what would America’s intermarriage rate look like if the country had not become more diverse?
Americans on whether they believed it was acceptable for Blacks and Whites to date each other.