Research has found young adults today have more friends of diverse racial backgrounds than past generations and are more willing to have relationships with those of other races and cultures. "We do not feel a need to be diverse, and we do not seek out relationships for that purpose. It is just who we are," says Jess Rainer in The Millennials, a book he co-authored about his peers born between the early 1980s and 2000.
So it's no surprise that greater numbers today are "marrying out," meaning outside of their race. The percentage was 14.6% in 2008, up from 6.7% in 1980, according to a new analysis of Census data by researchers at Ohio State University and Cornell University. The data include only married couples, not the growing segment of unmarried cohabiters; experts expect the intermarriage trend to continue as some of those mixed-race couples head to the altar. An estimated 4.5 million married couples in the USA are interracial, according to 2011 Census data released last week from the Current Population Survey.