The new look of American marriage

According to recent research from the Pew Research Center, intermarriage is on the rise, and public acceptance of interracial marriages has grown.  Intermarriage continues to increase, both in frequency and acceptance, in the United States. The share of new marriages between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from each other increased to 15.1% in 2010; this is more than double the percentage in 1980.

Other notable findings in the report are that gender patterns in intermarriage vary significantly by race; recent newlyweds who have “married out” are similar in characteristics to those who have “married in.” However the overall similarities mask sharp differences that emerge when the analysis examines pairings by race and ethnicity. There are also differences in intermarriage between regions in the U.S. Roughly 22% of all newlyweds in Western states are married to someone of a different race.

Finally, is more intermarriage good for society? According to the survey, 43% say that people marrying different races has been a change for the better in our society. Consider what these changes will mean to companies in the development of promotional campaigns.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. 1.     The full report is available at
  2. 2.     Have students take the survey on Pew’s Web site:
    2. How did students score?
    3. What are surprises from the survey?
    4. 3.     What are the implications of a changing family structure for marketers?
    5. 4.     How should companies market their products in light of this data?
      1. Choose three companies and design key messages to account for the changing family structure.
      2. Choose three products and redesign the product for the changing family structure.


Source:   Pew Research Center, 2/16/12,




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