I read this article about interracial marriages, and I saw a piece of information I typically see in stories about interracial relationships.

The divorce rate is higher in an interracial marriage than in those composed of two people of the same race. My immediate question: According to whom?

Every time I see this assertion, it is not followed by a statistic. It is just floated out there as truth. A few years ago, I called the U.S. Census Bureau and several research organizations, trying to find statistics to back up this premise. I couldn’t find anything. If such data or research exists, I would certainly like to see it and find out why the rate is higher, lower, or the same.

The theory makes sense. Those in interracial marriages have to deal with race on top of all the other issues that come with a marriage, and so, it is more likely the marriage will be torn asunder. I understand the reasoning, but I am not sure it is true. Two people willing to walk down the aisle and do something different may be more likely to stay together. They are aware of the concerns, before they appear. I also believe you have to know who you are and be pretty comfortable with that person to enter into a interracial relationship.

Prove me wrong or right. If anyone knows where such data is kept, please point me in the right direction. If it’s not out there, I may have to wage a one-woman campaign and start challenging this assumption, especially when it shows up in news articles.

10 thoughts to “Race and Marriage

  • Rania

    I adore that you don’t just take things as people spout them off to you at face value! I wish more people could/would be like that and question/challenge the validity of stated ‘facts’. I agree with much of what you said in your post but also wonder howerever could the same be also true of married couples across same sex or religious lines.

    Whatever the ‘differences’ from couple to couple, ALL of us face our own inherent challenges. I say this because I hate when I hear people use the color card (or even gender) as a reason to why a marriage will or will not work.

    • Percola

      Yes, I think there are so many factors that play into whether a marriage succeeds or fails. The key is knowing about those factors and how you will deal with them.

  • Liz

    You can make that a two-woman campaign! I’ve never seen anything backing up that “statistic” and would love to hear if you uncover anything interesting.

  • Ernessa the Totally Fierce Nerd

    I’ve read that statistic, too, and love that you’re questioning it. But I’ve also read that BW-WM marriage success rates are actually higher than same-race ones, so I’d love to believe that!

  • Blanc2

    I’ve seen statements breaking it down further — into WM/BF marriages, BM/WF, for example. As I understand it, marriages between WM and BF have one of the lowest divorce rate.

    Other interracial unions, and especially those between BM and WF, have a higher divorce rate.

    I don’t have a cite for you on that, however.

    • Percola

      I would love to get my hands on those. Maybe there will be new information in the 2010 Census.

  • Ernessa the Totally Fierce Nerd

    I can’t wait for the 2010 census. I think a ton of surprising statistics will come out of it.

  • Nikki


  • Velouroyale

    Yes, news reports to claim, “Interracial marriages have a lower rate of success than same race marriages” is a fallacy. It depends on the type of interracial marriage, as Blanc2 stated, and the type of same “race” marriage you’re looking at. For example, Black women/White men marriages have a higher rate of success than even the most successful type of same “race” couples (White/White couples).

    You can read the research in this 16 page article:


    • Percola

      Thanks for the link!

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