Not surprisingly, given the high levels of acceptance of interracial marriage among Millennials, nearly all 18-to-29-year-olds (93%) agree with the statement “I think it is all right for blacks and whites to date each other.” Pew Research has tracked responses to this question for more than two decades in its study of American political values, most recently in April 2009.
The percentage of white Millennials saying they have black friends (56%) is about the same as the percentage of black Millennials who say they have white friends (55%).
There is little difference on this question between Millennials and Americans ages 30 to 49.
When the first Generation Xers began to be tracked in the late 1980s, about two-thirds of this generation (those born between 19) agreed that it was “all right for blacks and whites to date each other.” By the time all members of that generation had reached age 18, fully 85% agreed with the statement — about the same proportion as does so today (86%).
The opinions of Baby Boomers (those born between 19) became more accepting of black-white dating in the early 1990s and have steadily become more so; in recent years, Boomers have become almost as accepting of interracial dating as Gen Xers.
The gap between Millennials and other age groups is evident for all of the individual groups asked about, though the size of the gap does vary as Americans ages 50 to 64 and 65 and older are less likely to accept marriages to members of some groups (in particular, African Americans) than others (in particular, white Americans).
Other demographic characteristics also are correlated with attitudes towards interracial marriage.
Over the last several decades, the American public has grown increasingly accepting of interracial dating and marriage.
This shift in opinion has been driven both by attitude change among individuals generally and by the fact that over the period, successive generations have reached adulthood with more racially liberal views than earlier generations.
While 85% of Millennials say they would be fine with a marriage to someone from any of the groups asked about, that number drops to about three-quarters (73%) among 30-to-49-year-olds, 55% among 50-to-64-year-olds, and just 38% of those ages 65 and older.