The increasing popularity of intermarriage. About 15% of all new marriages in the United States in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another, more than double the share in 1980 (6.7%). Among all newlyweds in 2010, 9% of whites, 17% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 28% of Asians married out. Looking at all married couples in 2010, regardless of when they married, the share of intermarriages reached an all time high of 8.4%. In 1980, that share was just 3.2%.
Intermarriage and earnings. Couples formed between an Asian husband and a white wife topped the median earning list among all newlyweds in 2008
2010 ($71,800). During this period, white male newlyweds who married Asian, Hispanic orblack spouses had higher combined earnings than did white male newlyweds who married a white spouse. As for white female newlyweds, those who married a Hispanic or black husband had somewhat lower combined earnings than those who “married in,” while those who married an Asian husband had significantly higher combined earnings.
Higher education is often associated with higher income, although it is not exactly true for couples whose husband and wife are both Asian. More than half of Asian newly married couples (53%) are college educated (including both husband and wife). In contrast, about four in ten white/Asian newlyweds (41%) are college educated. Yet, Asian couples have less combined earnings than white/Asian intermarried couples.
Regional differences. Intermarriage in the United States tilts West. About one in five (22%) of all newlyweds in Western states married someone of a different race or ethnicity between 2008 and 2010, compared with 14% in the South, 13% in the Northeast and 11% in the Midwest. At the state level,
more than four in ten (42%) newlyweds in Hawaii between 2008 and 2010 were intermarried; the other states with an intermarriage rate of 20% or more are all west of the Mississippi River. (For rates of intermarriage as well as intra-marriage in all 50 states, see Appendix 2.)