Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup, September 12, 2011
Americans are approaching unanimity in their views of marriages between blacks and whites, with 86% now approving of such unions. Americans’ views on interracial marriage have undergone a major transformation in the past five decades. When Gallup first asked about black-white marriages in 1958, 4% approved. More Americans disapproved than approved until 1983, and approval did not exceed the majority level until 1997.
The latest results are based on an Aug. 4-7 USA Today/Gallup poll, which included an oversample of blacks.
Approval of black-white marriages is at a record high among blacks and whites. Blacks have always been more approving than whites of interracial marriage, going back to 1968 when Gallup first was able to report reliable estimates on each group’s opinions. However, the gap in approval ratings has narrowed considerably, averaging 13 percentage points since 1997 but 32 points from 1968-1994.
Approval of black-white marriage is well above the majority level among all key subgroups, though slightly lower among Southerners, Republicans, conservatives, and those with no college education. Senior citizens are the least approving of black-white marriage among major subgroups, at 66%.
[Editor’s Note: Be sure to view the original article to see detailed demographic breakdowns and trends over time.]