WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Marriage between races and ethnic groups has reached an all-time high in the United States as public acceptance has grown, according to a Pew Research Center study on Thursday.
Couples of different race or ethnicity made up a record 8.4 percent of all married couples in 2010, up from 3.2 percent in 1980, the study showed.
About 15 percent of all new U.S. marriages in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity, more than twice the share in 1980, the report said.
Intermarriage is more common in Western states. About 20 percent of newlyweds there married someone of a different race or ethnicity between 2008 and 2010, compared with 14 percent in the South and 13 percent in the Northeast.
Forty-three percent of Americans say more people of different races marrying each other benefits society. Just more than a third say a member of their immediate family or a close relative is married to someone of a different race.
Asian Americans are the most likely to enter mixed-race marriages, at 27.7 percent of newlyweds in 2010. They were trailed by Hispanics at 25.7 percent, blacks at 17.1 percent and whites at 9.4 percent.
Pew based its report on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey for 2008 to 2010 and on telephone polling.
(Reporting By Ian Simpson; Editing by Daniel Trotta)