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For purposes of defining interracial marriages, Hispanic is counted as a race by many in the demographic field.RELATED: KENTUCKY CHURCH REVISITS INTERRACIAL COUPLE BAN AFTER UPROAR The study finds that 8.4 percent of all current U. marriages are interracial, up from 3.2 percent in 1980.RELATED: 46% OF MISSISSIPPI REPUBLICANS SAY INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE SHOULD BE ILLEGAL: POLL Minorities, young adults, the higher educated and those living in Western or Northeast states were more likely to say mixed marriages are a change for the better for society.The figure was 61 percent for 18- to 29-year-olds, for instance, compared to 28 percent for those 65 and older.(In 2000, Alabama became the last state to lift its unenforceable ban on interracial marriages.) About 83 percent of Americans say it is "all right for blacks and whites to date each other," up from 48 percent in 1987.As a whole, about 63 percent of those surveyed say it "would be fine" if a family member were to marry outside their own race."That says a lot about the state of race relations.

Mixed marriages involving blacks and whites also were considered least stable, followed by Hispanic-white couples.

Due to increasing interracial marriages, multiracial Americans are a small but fast-growing demographic group, making up about 9 million, or 8 percent of the minority population. "Race is a social construct; race isn't real," said Jonathan Brent, 28.

Together with blacks, Hispanics and Asians, the Census Bureau estimates they collectively will represent a majority of the U. The son of a white father and Japanese-American mother, Brent helped organize multiracial groups in southern California and believes his background helps him understand situations from different perspectives.

"But America still has a long way to go." The figures come from previous censuses as well as the 2008-2010 American Community Survey, which surveys 3 million households annually.

The figures for "white" refer to those whites who are not of Hispanic ethnicity.

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