Nevertheless, changing attitudes and shifting demographics have led to the situation we have in South Korea today, where one in three marriages in rural areas and one in eight marriages across the country are between a Korean and a non-Korean. (Those same changing attitudes have also led to a far higher divorce rate between Koreans, but that's another story for another time.)
In fact, it seemed exogamy (the sociological term for marrying outside one's group) was, for a while, more common in South Korea than in the United States. But a recent Pew Research Study report that utilizes 2010 Census Bureau data indicates that intermarriage is far more accepted and far more common than before. And this is especially true for Asian Americans and Hispanics.
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%.As one might expect, this is not evenly applied across genders:
About 24% of all black male newlyweds in 2010 married outside their race, compared with just 9% of black female newlyweds. Among Asians, the gender pattern runs the other way. About 36% of Asian female newlyweds married outside their race in 2010, compared with just 17% of Asian male newlyweds. Intermarriage rates among white and Hispanic newlyweds do not vary by gender.I've always thought Asian American men who were having trouble finding that special someone ought to look to Black women, and this sort of backs me up.
Some of these differences appear to reflect the overall characteristics of different groups in society at large, and some may be a result of a selection process. For example, white/Asian newlyweds of 2008 through 2010 have significantly higher median combined annual earnings ($70,952) than do any other pairing, including both white/white ($60,000) and Asian/Asian ($62,000). When it comes to educational characteristics, more than half of white newlyweds who marry Asians have a college degree, compared with roughly a third of white newlyweds who married whites. Among Hispanics and blacks, newlyweds who married whites tend to have higher educational attainment than do those who married within their own racial or ethnic group.Revenge of the stereotypical Asian nerds, I guess.
Couples formed between an Asian husband and a white wife topped the median earning list among all newlyweds in 2008-2010 ($71,800).
The study also notes that rates vary by region: it's significantly lower in the Midwest and the South than in the West, while Hawaii tops everyone (42% of all marriages). And while those who think intermarriage is a positive for society is about equal to those who think it has no effect, there's still a lingering one in nine who think that it is a negative.
When comparing this to Korea, one might note that much of Korea's "out-marriage" is not in fact "interracial," since it largely involves Koreans marrying ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino/as. Nevertheless, from a social standpoint, it is interethnic exogamy and remains a relevant issue.
The Pew report is getting people's attention, especially since this wide acceptance of something that was once taboo seems a parallel to the issue of same-sex marriage. From the Los Angeles Times:
A quarter-century ago, 65% of Americans thought interracial marriage was unacceptable for themselves or for other people. Yet in the span of a generation, as intermarriage has become more common and the United States has grown more racially diverse, a dramatic change in attitudes has taken place. Today, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 87% of Americans say that the rise in interracial marriage has either been good for society or made no difference, while only 11% think it's a change for the worse.I do think there's merit to that argument, just as there was in the comparison of racial integration of the armed forces with ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Still, there are people whose opposition to gay marriage stems from religious convictions, something that didn't generally hold true (I think) for opponents of interracial marriage.
That's the thing about the tide of history: It tends to flow from intolerance to acceptance. The same shift that occurred in opinions about interracial marriage is happening in attitudes about same-sex marriage. Just ask folks in Washington and New Jersey.
I'm not sure if those people will ever change their minds, but for them, I have two things for them to ruminate. First, gay people have always been able to marry; it's just that with same-sex marriage, they'll finally be able to marry each other. And second, if you really don't like gay people having gay sex, then by all means you should support gay marriage.
The Economist has a short article on this, but its main emphasis is on the earning power of White-Asian intermarriage couples.
Apparently Black women with Asian men is becoming a thing.