Sociologists Produce Data Showing Men and Women in Interracial Marriages Do a Better Job of Parenting Than Other Couples

Forty years ago in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia ruled that states did not have the authority to prohibit interracial marriage. At the time 16 states did not permit the marriage of blacks and whites.

Now interracial marriages have become commonplace. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 7 percent of the 59 million married-couple families in the United States have spouses from different races. In 1970 about 2 percent of all marriages were interracial. The number of marriages where one spouse is white and the other is black has increased from 65,000 in 1970 to 422,000 today.

A new study published in the American Journal of Sociology finds that men and women in interracial marriages actually do a better job of parenting than other couples. The study found that compared to families where the spouses are the same race, biracial parents invested more in educational resources such as books and computers for their children, funded and supported more cultural activities for their offspring, and spent more time helping their children deal with problems.

Brian Powell, a professor of sociology at the University of Indiana, coauthored the study with Simon Cheng, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. Professor Powell notes, “Parents in interracial marriages face challenges in being a couple. They’re aware of the challenges their children will face. In turn, they try to compensate for this.”