Black-white mixed race identity rises in the South

Black-white mixed race identity rises in the South

The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.

William H. Frey, Senior Fellow

As shown in my book, “Diversity Explosion,” the growth of black-white marriages in the United States is unmistakable, as are the gains in the population that identifies itself as “white and black,” particularly among the very young. As further evidence that the white-black divide is eroding, it is useful to look at the region most historically resistant to change: the South. Because of past prejudices and customs, the white-black population, as a percentage of all blacks, is still considerably lower in Southern states than in other parts of the country (see map). In a slew of states leading from Maryland to Texas, “white and black” populations represent less than 5 percent of the black-only populations. In Mississippi and Louisiana, “white and black” populations constitute only 1 percent. These figures compare with more than 20 percent of “white and black” persons in a handful of states with sparse black populations in the West, Great Plains, and New England.

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