One-in-six newlyweds (17%) were married to someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2015, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. This represents a more than fivefold increase from 3% in 1967, the year in which the Supreme Court ruled in the Loving v. Virginia decision that interracial marriages were legal.
While intermarriage is generally more common in metropolitan areas than in more rural non-metro areas (18% of newlyweds vs. 11%), there is tremendous variation within metro areas in the shares of newlyweds who have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity.
Honolulu has by far the highest share of intermarried newlyweds of any metro area analyzed – 42%. The same is true of about three-in-ten newlyweds living near Las Vegas or Santa Barbara, California.
Honolulu is made up of 42% Asians, 20% non-Hispanic whites and 9% Hispanics. In the Las Vegas area, 46% of people in the marriage market are non-Hispanic white, while 27% are Hispanic, 14% are non-Hispanic black and 9% are Asian; and around Santa Barbara, 52% of people in the marriage market are non-Hispanic white and 37% are Hispanic.
Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the area around Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida, have high intermarriage rates as well. Both are located near military bases likely contributes to the high rates of intermarriage, since intermarriage is typically more common among people in the military than among civilians.
At the other end of the spectrum, about 3% of newlyweds in Jackson, Mississippi, and Asheville, North Carolina, are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity. The same is true of 5% of newlyweds around Chattanooga, Tennessee, and 6% of those around Greenville, South Carolina, and Birmingham, Alabama. Intermarriage is relatively uncommon in the Youngstown, Ohio, area as well.