“But Will It Last?”: Marital Instability Among Interracial and Same-Race Couples*


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    We would like to acknowledge the editors and the anonymous reviewers for all of their helpful comments on this manuscript.

**Jenifer L. Bratter is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the Rice University, P.O. Box 1892-MS 28, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005 (jlb1@rice.edu).

Rosalind B. King is a Health Scientist Administrator in the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch at the Center for Population Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B07, MSC 7510, Bethesda, MD 20892-7510 (kingros@mail.nih.gov).


Abstract: The literature on interracial families has examined social stigmas attached to interracial relationships but has not thoroughly documented whether crossing racial boundaries increases the risk of divorce. Using the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (Cycle VI), we compare the likelihood of divorce for interracial couples to that of same-race couples. Comparisons across marriage cohorts reveal that, overall, interracial couples have higher rates of divorce, particularly for those marrying during the late-1980s. We also find race and gender variation. Compared to White/White couples, White female/Black male, and White female/Asian male marriages were more prone to divorce; meanwhile, those involving non-White females and White males and Hispanics and non-Hispanic persons had similar or lower risks of divorce.