A Less Colorblind Valentine's Day

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This Valentine's Day a counterintuitive study tells us interracial marriage is on the decline. I say "counterintuitive" because interracial couples are hardly the rarity they were in the '60s and gen X-ers are rumored to not see race in the same way their forebears did. Legend has it, anyway, that skin color is of little import to younger Americans and of much less import than it was to their parents or grandparents.

Nonetheless, a survey out this week shows a decline in interracial and interethnic marriage in the 1990s–-the most recent period for which such data exist.

The study, by Ohio State University sociology Prof. Zhenchao Qian, suggests that increased immigration by Hispanics and Asians to the United States has led to more marriages within these groups and fewer marriages between these groups and white Americans.

"These declines in intermarriages are a significant departure from past trends," the author explains, adding, "The decline reflects the growth in the immigrant population during the '90s; more native-born Asian Americans and Hispanics are marrying their foreign-born counterparts."

An article on the study can be found in the February 2007 issue of the American Sociological Review, published by the 101-year-old American Sociological Association.