Posted on December 26, 2018

Las Vegas Has Second-Highest Rate of Interracial Marriage in US

Michael Scott Davidson, Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 25, 2018


{snip} The Las Vegas metropolitan area has the second-highest rate of interracial marriage among U.S. metro areas, according to Pew Research Center findings published last year.

Almost 1 in 3 newlyweds here have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, according to the analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from 2011 through 2015. Only the Honolulu metro area ranked higher. “Generally, intermarriage rates tend to be higher in places with more racial and ethnic diversity. Both Honolulu and Las Vegas would fall into that category,” Pew senior researcher Gretchen Livingston said. “The pool of potential spouses is just much more diverse.”

Indeed, less than half of the 2.1 million people living in the Las Vegas metro area identify as non-Hispanic white.

But a Bloomberg analysis of 2016 census data ranked Las Vegas as only the seventh most racially diverse metropolitan area in the U.S. (Honolulu came in first.)

Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West at UNLV, said the fact that Las Vegas ranks higher in interracial marriage rates could be attributed to the fact it is less segregated than other metro areas — Houston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., among them — that Bloomberg ranked as more diverse.


“The more people are in one another’s lives, the lower the barriers for you to do anything together — to go to school together, to work together, to marry each other,” he said.

Babies becoming more diverse

Interracial marriage has become much more common across the nation since 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down remaining state laws banning it, according to further analysis by Pew Research Center.

The national rate of interracial marriage at that time was fewer than 1 in 30 newlyweds. By 2015, the rate had grown to about 1 in 6.


The couple, with their four adult children, have since become part of another growing trend: having multiracial or multiethnic babies.

When they met in 1980, only 1 in 20 U.S. infants were multiracial or multiethnic, according to Pew. By the time their sixth and seventh grandchildren were born in 2015, the ratio was 1 in 7 infants.