America's Melting Pot Grows as Number of Multiracial Babies Triples

One in seven newborns in the United States are now multiracial or multiethnic. The number has tripled in the past three decades.

New data about babies born in the United States is helping America live up to its reputation as a melting pot: The number of multiracial or multiethnic infants has tripled since 1980, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. That means multiracial and multiracial infants comprise 14 percent of babies born in 2015, or one in seven newborns.

The increase in interracial marriages may be a factor in the increase, as they have risen from 7 percent of newlyweds in 1980 to 17 percent in 2015. Remember, it was only in 1967 that interracial marriage was ruled legal in the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia.

Of the multiracial and multiethnic babies born last year, 42 percent were born to one white parent and one hispanic parent and 22 percent had at least one parent who identified as multiracial. Only 14 percent were born to one Asian parent and one white parent, and just 10 percent to one black and one white parent. (Because census data on the race and ethnicity of parents is only available for those living in the same home, this info is limited to infants currently living with two parents. In 2015, 62 percent of all infants lived with two parents.)

Of course, the country's local demographics in general affected where the largest number of multiracial or multiethnic babies were born. Forty-four percent of babies in Hawaii were multiracial or multiethnic, while Vermont only had 4 percent.

Though racial tensions seem high in the United States lately, 2015 Pew Research Center survey tells a more positive story for the world in which these babies will grow up: 22 percent of U.S. adults said more children with parents of different races was a good thing for society, and 65 percent thought it didn't make much of a difference. A mere 11 percent thought it was a bad thing.


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