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But the significance of the change goes beyond simple acceptance.

When Pew asked about the impact of interracial marriage on society, 43% of Americans said more intermarriage has been a change for the better.

Wu and her colleagues describe three studies, the first of which featured 245 students at a West Coast public university.

All reported they were currently in romantic relationships.

Since interracial dating (or "interdating") and interracial marriage were outlawed or ostracized for so long in U. history, many sociologists see the incidence of these relationships as a key indicator of the state of U. "Many people who are honestly accepting of equal treatment across a wide range of social interaction would finally draw the line when it came to [a romantic relationship] between the race groups," says Smith. "We are seeing declining levels of objection to interracial marriage," says Smith.

Neither the Roper Report nor the General Social Survey specifically queried respondents on their attitudes or practices concerning interracial dating.

It's been less than 50 years since blacks and whites have been able to legally marry, thanks to the Supreme Court, and 15.1% of new marriages in 2010 were between different races or ethnicities.

Young people are even more open-minded: Roughly 9 in 10 millennials said they'd be OK with a family member marrying someone of another race or ethnicity.

The question isn't simply a matter of whom you'll be going out with on Saturday night. Indeed, despite its increasing depiction in the media, interracial romance is still America's "last taboo," according to Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. And recent surveys reveal that American attitudes toward intermarriage have also steadily improved: While 70 percent of adults in 1986 said they approved of interracial marriage, that figure had climbed to 83 percent by 2003, according to a Roper Reports study.

But new research from the University of Washington suggests that reported acceptance of interracial marriage masks deeper feelings of discomfort — even disgust — that some feel about mixed-race couples.

Published online in July in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and co-authored by UW postdoctoral researcher Caitlin Hudac, the study found that bias against interracial couples is associated with disgust that in turn leads interracial couples to be dehumanized.

Compare that with 1980, when less than 7% of new marriages took place between interracial couples and the share of overall marriages was just 3%. In 1987, Pew found that only 13% of Americans completely agreed that interracial dating was acceptable; that share grew to 56% in 2009.

This brings the share of all interracial or interethnic marriages to a historic high of 8.4%, according to Pew Research Center data.

After providing demographic information, including their race and that of their partner, participants "rated themselves, and estimated their romantic partners' ratings of them, on 27 positive self-attributes." "Compared to intraracial daters, interracial daters reported that their partners viewed them more positively on cerebral, attractiveness, and relational (e.g., compassionate) attributes," the researchers report.

There were no significant differences in self-ratings between the two groups.

He found that 35.7 percent of white Americans had interdated, along with 56.5 percent of African Americans, 55.4 percent of Hispanic Americans, and 57.1 percent of Asian Americans.

Men and those who attended racially or ethnically integrated schools were significantly more likely to interdate.

Yancey says that whites might interdate less because they are a numerical majority within American society.

And he adds that whites are also more likely to be racially isolated than people of color—a notion sociologists lump under the term "propinquity," which describes the tendency for people to work better or bond with those geographically near them.

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