Immigrant intermarriage

Authored by: Charlie V. Morgan

Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415779722
eBook ISBN: 9780203863299
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183493


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Immigrants from Latin America and Asia since the 1960s have forced us to reconceptualize how we study race relations in the United States. The same is true for intermarriage. Interracial marriages have increased from 150,000 marriages in 1960 to 3.1 million in 2000, accounting for 6.2 percent of all marriages compared to less than 1 percent in 1960. In 2008, the percentage had further increased to 7.6 percent, representing one in every 13 marriages (Lee and Bean 2010). Moreover, intermarriage has always been the litmus test for the social distance between people from different racial and ethnic groups, assimilation of the various groups into US society, the color line, and panethnicity. While there are still important lessons to be learned from black-white intermarriages in the United States, immigrants from Latin America and Asia are changing the way we measure, conceptualize, theorize, and research intermarriage. Moreover, these intermarriages inform public policy decisions in profound ways. This chapter focuses on the ever-expanding role of “immigrant intermarriage,” which, broadly defined, includes any marriage in which an immigrant, or his or her child, marries someone from a different racial or ethnic group in the United States.

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