WASHINGTON — More and more people in the United States are marrying people of different races and ethnicities, at least 1 in 6 newlyweds in 2015, the highest proportion in American history, a study released Thursday showed.
Currently, there are 11 million people — or 1 out of 10 married people — in the United States with a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of US Census Bureau data.
This is a big jump from 50 years ago, when the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage was legal throughout the United States. That year, only 3 percent of newlyweds were intermarried — which means they had a spouse of a different race or ethnicity. In 2015, 17 percent of newlyweds were intermarried, a number that had held steady from the year before.
‘‘There’s much greater racial tolerance in the United States, with attitudes having changed in a way where it’s much more positive toward interracial marriage,’’ said Daniel T. Lichter, director of the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell University, who studies interracial and interethnic marriages. ‘‘But I think that a greater reason is the growing diversity of the population. There are just more demographic opportunities for people to marry someone of another race or ethnicity.’’
Asians were most likely to intermarry in 2015, with 29 percent of newlywed Asians married to someone of a different race or ethnicity, followed by Hispanics at 27 percent, blacks at 18 percent, and whites at 11 percent.
There also were differences between men and women.
Asian and Hispanic women were the most likely to marry someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2015, while Hispanic and black men were the most likely among men, the data showed.