Majorities of multiracial adults are proud of their mixed racial background (60%) and feel their racial heritage has made them more open to other cultures (59%), according to a groundbreaking new Pew Research Center survey of 1,555 multiracial adults. At the same time, a majority (55%) says they have been subjected to racial slurs or jokes, and about one-in-four (24%) have felt annoyed because people have made assumptions about their racial background.
While multiracial adults share some things in common, they cannot be easily categorized. They have a broad range of attitudes and experiences that are rooted in the races that make up their background and how the world sees them. For example, the survey finds that biracial adults with a black and white background have a set of experiences, attitudes and social interactions that are much more closely aligned with blacks than with whites, while biracial white and Asian adults generally feel more closely connected to whites than to Asians. Among biracial adults who are white and American Indian – the largest group of multiracial adults – ties to their Native American heritage are often faint.
Pew Research Center estimates that 6.9% of U.S. adults, or nearly 17 million, could be considered multiracial today when taking into account how they describe their own race as well as the racial backgrounds of their parents and grandparents. By comparison, 2.1% of adult Americans said they were two or more races in the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey.
It was less than 50 years ago – on June 12, 1967 – that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws prohibiting mixed-race marriages. And it has been only 15 years since the U.S. Census Bureau first allowed Americans to choose more than one race when filling out their census forms. Since 2000, America’s multiracial population has grown at three times the rate of the general population. If current trends continue – and evidence suggests they may accelerate – the Census Bureau projects that the multiracial population will triple by 2060.
The report is based on a nationally representative Pew Research Center survey of 1,555 multiracial Americans ages 18 and older (and an additional survey of 1,495 adults in the general public), conducted online from Feb. 6 to April 6, 2015, as well as Pew Research Center analyses of U.S. Census Bureau data. It examines mixed-race adults’ attitudes, experiences and views on key social and political issues.
Among the findings:
· Not all adults with a mixed racial background consider themselves “multiracial.” In fact, 61% do not. When asked why they don’t identify as multiracial, about half (47%) say it is because they look like one race. An identical share says they were raised as one race, while about four-in-ten (39%) say they closely identify with a single race. And about a third (34%) say they never knew the family member or ancestor who was a different race.
· Racial identity can be fluid. About three-in-ten adults with a multiracial background say that they have changed the way they describe their race over the years – with some saying they once thought of themselves as only one race and now think of themselves as more than one race, and others saying just the opposite.
· Multiracial Americans are younger – and strikingly so – than the country as a whole. Today, nearly half (46%) of all multiracial Americans are younger than 18, according to census data. By contrast, only 23% of the overall U.S. population is under the age of 18.
· Mixed-race couples and births of children who have a multiracial background have increased. Since 1980, the share of marriages between spouses of different races has increased almost fourfold (from 1.6% to 6.3% in 2013). The share of multiracial children is growing at an even faster rate. In 1970, among babies living with two parents, only 1% had parents who were different races from each other. By 2013, that share had risen to 10%.
· Among multiracial adults, there’s a spectrum of experiences with discrimination. Americans who are white and black or black and American Indian are far more likely to have been unfairly stopped by police or to have received poor service at a restaurant or other business than Americans who are white and Asian or white and American Indian.
· About two-thirds of Latinos say their Hispanic background is part of their racial background. When Latinos are asked whether they consider being Hispanic to be part of their racial or ethnic background, the survey finds that 67% say it is, at least in part, their race.
· Overall, the politics of multiracial Americans resembles the country as a whole, but differences emerge among multiracial groups. Biracial adults who are white and American Indian are more Republican-leaning than the rest of the multiracial population, and their viewpoints closely resemble those of single-race whites. At the same time, multiracial adults who have some black background lean more toward the Democratic Party than the general public – closely resembling single-race blacks. Biracial white and Asian adults also tend to lean more Democratic, and their views generally, but not consistently, are more in line with those of single-race Asians than single-race whites.
Read the full report: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/06/11/multiracial-in-america/.
The report is accompanied by two interactive features:
Multiracial Voices: A Video Essay
We invited 10 multiracial Americans to share their experiences and perspectives with us on camera. Explore their views of race, identity, relationships and the future, along with interactive graphics.
What Census Calls Us: A Historical Timeline
See how census race, ethnicity and origin categories have changed from 1790 to 2010.
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. The center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.