Interracial Marriage: Still Happening, but More Slowly

June 7, 2010

When FlashForward goes off the air this summer, we won’t just be seeing the last of one of the very few Asian American leading men on a TV show; it will also be end of one of the even fewer depictions of Asian American men in interracial relationships on network television.

John Cho and Gabrielle Union’s fictional Asian-and-black relationship on FlashForward found a lot of support from the Asian American blogosphere -- precisely for bucking the trends of not only stereotype but history. Being that Asian men have some of the lowest rates of interracial marriage of all races and ethnicities in the US...

Yet it’s interesting to note that, despite the uptick in depictions of biracial relationships on network TV, the rate of interracial marriages for Asians in real life is actually slowing down.

The Associated Press came out with a story recently which examined interracial marriages in the US. It seems that even though the instances of interracial marriages are still on the rise, the rate at which they are occurring has dropped. According the article, the growth of interracial marriages is slowing among Hispanics and Asians, but not as much among blacks.

The AP article states that, “About 40 percent of U.S.-born Asians now marry whites -- a figure unchanged since 1980.” Only about 1 percent of whites marry Asians, which I suppose makes sense, given that Asians make up about 4 percent of the total US population.

On Thursday, the New York Times covered a recent Pew Research Center study on interracial marriage these statistics: among newly married couples, 14.6 percent were mixed in 2008, compared with 11.2 percent in 2000 and 8.3 percent in 1990. It gives a different number for Asian marriages: of the 3.8 million people who married in 2008, 31 percent of Asians married a person of a different race or ethnicity.

Despite the 10 percent difference, the Pew’s lower number does support the AP article’s assertion that the rate of interracial marriage is dropping among Asians. Demographers attribute the slowing growth to anti-immigrant backlash after 9/11, causing immigrants to turn to their own communities for support and understanding.

Right now, about 8 percent of marriages in the US are mixed-raced, which is only a 1 percent increase from the 2000 census report. AP didn’t give a breakdown of Asian men marrying out versus Asian women, but it did say that the number of US-born Asians marrying foreign-born Asians has multiplied three times for men and five times for women.

Are Asian American women turning to racial in-group marriage 66 percent faster than are Asian American men?

Why might this be? Did 9/11 prompt a return to one’s roots, or has international travel and exchange fostered the growth in marrying foreign-born Asians? What other factors might contribute to the decreasing rate of interracial marriage?

What are your thoughts on this? Keep in mind that interracial marriage is a sensitive and contentious issue, so let’s keep our comments thoughtful and civil.

Also see:

Black Women See Fewer Black Men at the Altar





You can find the Pew Research study at the link below :

It is surprising that somebody who is supposed to be in touch with Asian-American issues you dont know the facts.  Your point about US Asian men having lowest interracial marriage rates is completely wrong.  Asian men in the US have higher interracial marriage rates than black man in the US.  And I said rates (per capita or percentage-wise) not total since Asians are only 5 percent of the US population.  And when you isolate US-born Asian men only (you can find the sources for the below at the bottom of the Pew Research study) :

1) Over 41% US-Born (Native) Asian men married someone of a different race/ethnicity in 2008
2) From 1980 to 2008, the interracial marriage rates for US-Born (Native) Asian men have hovered around 40 percent    

When the Asian male/female interracial marriage disparity is discussed, many ignore that more than half of the US Asian Population (i dont know the exact breakdown) are 1st generation immigrants. Most of these immigrant Asians (men) have English as a second language, are culturally ‘Asian’, are typically older, immigrated to the US already married, etc. But when you take only Asians who are born in the US (or raised in the US) only - this means these Asians speak English fluently and are raised in American culture - the interracial marriage disparity between these Asian-American males/females lessens to where it is 41% vs 50%.


thanks for parsing out the numbers; helpful and informative.

less helpful and informative: getting your panties in a wad.  the above post says "SOME OF the lowest" -- not "the lowest ever of anyone bar none."  before getting all insulting-like, please make sure you've read correctly next time.

I have been observing a family member who engaged in an interracial marriage, and what I notice is it is NOT a marriage of equality, dignity, and mutual respect. 


The wife is an asian female, the husband is a white male.  When I visit their house, I see no house items that are from the Asian culture.  All items appear to reflect the male's taste.    The female is a refuge from who fled from Cambodia. 

"but it did say that the number of US-born Asians marrying foreign-born Asians has multiplied three times for men and five times for women." This is great news if indeed this is true...if this rate increases further it might move forward the rate when whites become a minority in this country. Wish black women contribute to this cause by marrying foreign blacks, but I am not holding my breath!