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The Pew study also tracks some divorce trends, citing studies using government data that found overall divorce rates higher for interracial couples.One study conducted a decade ago determined that mixed-race couples had a 41 percent chance of separation or divorce, compared to a 31 percent chance for those who married within their race.

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Due to increasing interracial marriages, multiracial Americans are a small but fast-growing demographic group, making up about 9 million, or 8 percent of the minority population. "Race is a social construct; race isn't real," said Jonathan Brent, 28.

Together with blacks, Hispanics and Asians, the Census Bureau estimates they collectively will represent a majority of the U. The son of a white father and Japanese-American mother, Brent helped organize multiracial groups in southern California and believes his background helps him understand situations from different perspectives.

In contrast, blacks who married outside their race increased in share from 15.5 percent to 17.1 percent, due in part to a rising black middle class that has more interaction with other races.

Intermarriage among whites rose in share slightly, while among Hispanics the rate was flat, at roughly 25.7 percent.

While Hispanics and Asians remained the most likely, as in previous decades, to marry someone of a different race, the biggest jump in share since 2008 occurred among blacks, who historically have been the most segregated.

States in the West where Asian and Hispanic immigrants are more numerous, including Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and California, were among the most likely to have couples who "marry out" - more than 1 in 5.RELATED: 46% OF MISSISSIPPI REPUBLICANS SAY INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE SHOULD BE ILLEGAL: POLL Minorities, young adults, the higher educated and those living in Western or Northeast states were more likely to say mixed marriages are a change for the better for society.The figure was 61 percent for 18- to 29-year-olds, for instance, compared to 28 percent for those 65 and older."Mixed-race children have blurred America's color line.They often interact with others on either side of the racial divide and frequently serve as brokers between friends and family members of different racial backgrounds," he said."In the past century, intermarriage has evolved from being illegal, to be a taboo and then to be merely unusual.