The Rise In Multiracial Babies Says a Lot About America

June 15th 2015

Laura Donovan

New findings from the Pew Research Center show that America is becoming a larger hub for multiracial individuals, many of whom love their backgrounds. According to the research, 60 percent of multiracial adults are proud of being mixed-race and roughly the same percentage of multiracial adults say their heritage has made them more open-minded about other cultures.

The Pew study, which looked at more than 1,500 participants, found that nearly half of all multiracial Americans are younger than 18, which is consistent with data that there are more multiracial children now than in the past. In 1970, just 1 percent of infants had parents of different races, and that number jumped to 10 percent in 2013. It's important to note, however, that only 39 percent of surveyed adults with mixed-race backgrounds call themselves multiracial, as nearly half of them believe they only look like a single race. Studying the way adults define themselves and their backgrounds, the study estimates that roughly 7 percent of the U.S. adult population could be considered multiracial. This is higher than the Census' 2010 estimate, which was that 2.1 percent of adults and 2.9 percent of people of all ages saw themselves as multiracial.

About 40 percent of participants said they identify with only one race, and nearly a quarter of survey respondents said they've experienced pressure from others to identify with just one race.

“It was kind of an eye-opener to us that multiracial identity, it’s more than just the people who make up a family tree, it’s also a product of experiences or attitudes,” Kim Parker, the director of social trends research at the Pew Research Center, told The New York Times.

Mixed race in America

Though almost 60 percent of people reported their racial background as an advantage to their lives, more than half the respondents say they've been subjected to racist jokes or slurs in their lives. This was especially true for respondents with black backgrounds. Almost a quarter of people reported feeling annoyed that others have made assumptions about their backgrounds.

Mixed race in America

Researchers expect the multiracial population to continue growing, and the Census Bureau estimates it will triple in size in 45 years. The increase in mixed-race couples is responsible for this growth, as many of these couples go on to conceive children. In 1980, just 1.6 percent of marriages were mixed-race. That number increased to 6.3 percent in 2013.

Mixed race in America

It's significant that nearly half of all multiracial Americans are under 18 because this puts them on the younger end of the Millennial generation, which is expected to outnumber the Baby Boomer generation this year. Millennials have already eclipsed the Baby Boomers in the workforce and become the largest working generation alive.