Share This Article:

Inter-Ethnic/Interracial Romantic Relationships in the United States: Factors Responsible for the Low Rates of Marriages Between Blacks and Whites

Abstract Full-Text HTML Download Download as PDF (Size:107KB) PP. 121-129
DOI: 10.4236/sm.2011.13015    6,591 Downloads   16,191 Views   Citations


This paper examines the status of interracial romantic relationships among non-Black groups and those between Blacks and non-Blacks in the United States. The research shows that, apart from Blacks, inter-ethnic/interracial marriages and other forms of romantic unions have increased substantially by the 21st Century. For Black Americans, however, the data show that just a very tiny fraction of them are involved in interracial romantic re-lations, including marriages with Whites and other non-White groups. The paper then goes on to present the factors responsible for this phenomenon.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Kaba, A. (2011). Inter-Ethnic/Interracial Romantic Relationships in the United States: Factors Responsible for the Low Rates of Marriages Between Blacks and Whites. Sociology Mind, 1, 121-129. doi: 10.4236/sm.2011.13015.


[1] Acquye, R. (2007). Interracial marriage. Network Journal, 14, 8.
[2] Alexander, E. (2007). For better or for worse: Marriage across boundaries. Journal of Women’s History, 19, 213-221.
[3] doi:10.1353/jowh.2007.0049
[4] Bernard, R. M. (1981). The melting pot and the altar: Marital assimilation in early twentieth-century Wisconsin. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
[5] Blau, P. M., Blum, T., Rytina, S., & Schwartz, J. (1988). Inequality and intermarriage: A parado of motive and constraint. Social Forces, 66, 645-675. doi:10.2307/2579570
[6] Brace, P., Butler, K. S., Arceneaux, K., & Johnson, M. (2002). Public opinion in the American states: New perspectives using national survey data. American Journal of Political Science, 46, 173-189. doi:10.2307/3088421
[7] Breger, R., & Hill, R. (1998). Cross-cultural marriage: Identity and choice. Oxford: Berg.
[8] Brittingham, A., & De la Cruz, G. P. (2004). Ancestry: 2000. U.S. Census Bureau. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
[9] Brown, H. (2001). The horrid alternative: Miscegenation and madness in the frontier romance. Journal of American & Comparative Cultures, 24, 137-151. doi:10.1111/j.1537-4726.2001.2403_137.x
[10] Chatters, L. M., Taylor, R. J., & Jayakody, R. (1994). Fictive kinship relations in black extended families. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 25, 297.
[11] Cready, C. M., & Saenz, R. (1997). The nonmetro/metro context of racial/ethnic outmarriage: Some differences between African Americans and Mexican Americans. Rural Sociology, 62, 335-362. doi:10.1111/j.1549-0831.1997.tb00655.x
[12] Cretser, G. A., & Leon, J. J. (1982). Intermarriage in the U.S.: An overview of theory and research. Marriage & Family Review, 5, 3. doi:10.1300/J002v05n01_02
[13] Crowder, K. D, & Tolnay, S. E. (2000). A new marriage squeeze for black women: The role of racial intermarriage by black men. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 792-807. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00792.x
[14] Cruz, B. C. & Berson, M. J. (2001). The American melting pot? Miscegenation laws in the United States. Magazine of History, 15, 80-84. doi:10.1093/maghis/15.4.80
[15] De Figueiredo, R. J. P. Jr., & Elkins, Z. (2003). Are patroits bigots? An inquiry into the vices of in-group pride. American Journal of Political Science, 47, 171-188. doi:10.1111/1540-5907.00012
[16] Ellinghaus, K. (2002). Margins of acceptability. Frontiers, 23, 55-75. doi:10.1353/fro.2003.0005
[17] Fears, D., & Deane, C. (2011) Race, dating and marriage. In Biracial couples report tolerance (p. A01). Washington Post.
[18] Fenyo, M. D. (2001). Cross-cultural marriage: Identity and choice. Journal of Third World Studies, 18, 334-335.
[19] Fields, J., & Casper, L. M. (2001). America’s families and living arrangements 2000. U.S. Census Bureau, Table FG3. P20-537. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
[20] Firmin, M. W., & Firebaugh, S. (2008). Historical analysis of college campus interracial dating. College Student Journal, 42, 782-788.
[21] Frankenberg, R. (1993). White women, race matters: The social construction of whiteness. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
[22] Fryer, R. G. Jr. (2007). Guess who’s been coming to dinner? Trends in interracial marriage over the 20th century. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21, 71-90. doi:10.1257/jep.21.2.71
[23] Gordon-Reed, A. (1997). Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American controversy. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia.
[24] Gullickson, A. (2006). Education and black-white interracial marriage. Demography, 43, 673-689. doi:10.1353/dem.2006.0033
[25] Herring, M., Jankowski, T. B., & Brown, R. E. (1999). Pro-black doesn’t mean anti-white: The structure of African American group identity. Journal of Politics, 61, 363-386. doi:10.2307/2647508
[26] Hibbler, D. K., & Shinew, K. J. (2002). Interracial couples’ experience of leisure: A social work approach. Journal of Leisure Research, 34, 135-156.
[27] Hodes, M. (1999). Sex, love, race: Crossing boundaries in North American history. New York: New York University Press.
[28] Hughes, Z. (2003). Why some sisters only date whites & “others.” Ebony, 58, 55-58.
[29] Hwang, S., Saenz, R., & Aguirre, B. E. (1995). The SES selectivity of interracially married Asians. International Migration Review, 29, 469-491. doi:10.2307/2546790
[30] Jacobs, J. A., & Labov, T. (1998). Preserving multiple ancestry: Intermarriage and mixed births in Hawaii. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 29, 481-502.
[31] Jacobs, J. A., & Labov, T. (2002). Gender differentials in intermarriage among sixteen race and ethnic groups. Sociological Forum, 17, 621-646. doi:10.1023/A:1021029507937
[32] Jacobson, C. K., & Heaton, T. B. (2008). Comparative patterns of interracial marriage: Structural opportunities, third-party factors, and temporal change in immigrant societies. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 39, 129-149.
[33] Jacobson, C. K., & Heaton, T. B. (2003). Inter-group marriage and United States military service. Journal of Political and Military, Sociology, 31, 1-22.
[34] Jeter, K. (1982). Intercultural and interracial marriage. Marriage & Family Review, 5, 105. doi:10.1300/J002v05n01_10
[35] Johnson, K. R. (2006). The legacy of Jim Crow: The enduring taboo of black-white romance. Texas Law Review, 84, 739-766.
[36] Johnson, T. A. (2004). Colonial caste paradigms and the African diaspora. The Black Scholar, 34, 23-33.
[37] Joyner, K., & Kao, G. (2000). School racial composition and adolescent racial Homophily. Social Science Quarterly, 81, 810.
[38] Kaba, A. J. (2006). The blood and family relations between Africans and Europeans in the United States. African Renaissance, 3, 105-114.
[39] Kalmijn, M. (1993). Trends in black/white intermarriage. Social Forces, 72, 119-146. doi:10.2307/2580162
[40] Kalmijn, M. (1998). Intermarriage and homogamy: Causes, patterns, trends,” Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 395-421. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.24.1.395
[41] Kennedy, R. (2003). Interracial intimacies: Sex, marriage, identity, and adoption. New York: Pantheon Books.
[42] Kristof, N. D. (2004). Marriage: Mix and match. New York Times, p. A-23.
[43] Lehmiller, J. J., & Agnew, C. R. (2007). Perceived marginalization and the prediction of romantic relationship stability. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 1036-1049. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2007.00429.x
[44] Leslie, A. R. (1996). Multiracial couples. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 530-531. doi:10.2307/353519
[45] Mazrui, K. F. (2003). Live and let love: Self-determination in matters of intimacy and Identity. Michigan Law Review, 101, 2185-2208. doi:10.2307/3595351
[46] McNamara, R. P., Tempenis, M., & Walton, B. (1999). Crossing the line: Interracial couples in the South. Westport, CT: Praeger.
[47] McWhorter, J. (2003). Authentically black. Essays for the black silent majority. New York: Gotham Books.
[48] Model, S., & Fisher, G. (2001). Black-white unions: West Indians and African Americans compared,” Demography, 38, 177-185. doi:10.1353/dem.2001.0019
[49] Mondak, J., & Sanders, M. S. (2003). Tolerance and intolerance, 1976-1998. American Journal of Political Science, 47, 492-502. doi:10.1111/1540-5907.00035
[50] Moran, R. F. (2001). Interracial intimacy: The regulation of race & romance. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.
[51] Oliver, J. E., & Wong, J. (2003). Inter-group prejudice in multiethnic settings. American Journal of Political Science, 47, 567-582. doi:10.2307/3186119
[52] Paset, P. S., & Taylor, R. D. (1991). Black and white women’s attitudes toward interracial marriage. Psychological Reports, 69, 753. doi:10.2307/2967239
[53] Porter, M. M., & Bronzaft, A. L. (1995). Do the future plans of educated black women include black mates. The Journal of Negro Education, 64, 162-170. doi:10.2466/PR0.69.7.753-754
[54] Porterfield, E. (1982). Black-American intermarriage in the United States. Marriage & Family Review, 5, 17. doi:10.1300/J002v05n01_03
[55] Qian, Z. (1997). Breaking the racial barriers: Variations in interracial marriage between 1980 and 1990. Demography, 34, 263-276. doi:10.2307/2061704
[56] Reiter, M. D., Krause, J. M., & Stirlen, A. (2005). Intercouple dating on college campus. College Student Journal, 39, 449-454.
[57] Rogers, J. A. (1944). Sex and race Vol. III . Renewed in 1972 by Helga M. Rogers. 4975 59th Avenue South St. Petersburg, Fl 33715. ISBN 09602294-2-6.
[58] Rosenblatt, P. C., Karis, T., & Powell, R. R. (1995). Multiracial couples: black & white voices. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publications.
[59] Rosenfeld, M., & Kim, B. S. (2005). The independence of young adults and the rise of interracial and same-sex unions. American Sociological Review, 70, 541-562. doi:10.1177/000312240507000401
[60] Rothman, J. D. (1998). To be freed from thate curs and let at liberty: Interracial adultery and divorce in Antebellum Virginia. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 106, 443-481.
[61] Sassler, S. (2005). Gender and ethnic differences in marital assimilation in the early twentieth century. The International Migration Review, 39, 608-636. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7379.2005.tb00282.x
[62] Storrs, D. (1997). Multiracial couples: Black and white voices. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 28, 325-327.
[63] Tucker, M. B., & Mitchell-Kernan, C. (1990). New trends in black American interracial marriage: The social structural context. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 209-218. doi:10.2307/352851
[64] Twine, F. W., & Steinbugler, A. C. (2006). The gap between whites and whiteness: Interracial intimacy and racial literacy. Du Bois Review, 3, 341-363. doi:10.1017/S1742058X06060231
[65] Vaquera, E., & Kao, G. (2005). Private and public displays of affection among interracial and intra-racial adolescent couples. Social Science Quarterly, 86, 484-508. doi:10.1111/j.0038-4941.2005.00314.x
[66] Wang, H., & Kao, G. (2007). Does higher socioeconomic status increase contact between minorities and whites? An examination of interracial romantic relationships among adolescents. Social Science Quarterly, 88, 146-164. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6237.2007.00451.x
[67] Wilensky, J. (2002). Relationships. Human Ecology, 30, 16-18.
[68] Williams, T. K., & Thornton, M. C. (1998). Social construction of ethnicity versus personal experience: The case of Afro-Amerasians. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 29, 255-267.
[69] Wong, L. Y. (2003). Why do only 5.5% of black men marry white women. International Economic Review, 44, 803-826. doi:10.1111/1468-2354.t01-1-00090
[70] Yarbrough, F. A. (2005). Power perception, and interracial sex: Former slaves recall a multiracial South. The Journal of Southern History, 71, 559-588. doi:10.2307/27648820
[71] Yancey, G. (2007). Experiencing racism: Differences in the experiences of whites married to blacks and non-black racial minorities. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 38, 197-213.
[72] Yancey, G. (2002). Who interracially dates: An examination of the characteristics of those who have interracially dated. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 33, 179-190.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.