Another analysis found divorce rates among mixed-race couples to be more dependent on the specific race combination, with white women who married outside their race more likely to divorce.

In contrast, blacks who married outside their race increased in share from 15.5 percent to 17.1 percent, due in part to a rising black middle class that has more interaction with other races.

Intermarriage among whites rose in share slightly, while among Hispanics the rate was flat, at roughly 25.7 percent.

Due to increasing interracial marriages, multiracial Americans are a small but fast-growing demographic group, making up about 9 million, or 8 percent of the minority population. "Race is a social construct; race isn't real," said Jonathan Brent, 28.

Together with blacks, Hispanics and Asians, the Census Bureau estimates they collectively will represent a majority of the U. The son of a white father and Japanese-American mother, Brent helped organize multiracial groups in southern California and believes his background helps him understand situations from different perspectives.

While Hispanics and Asians remained the most likely, as in previous decades, to marry someone of a different race, the biggest jump in share since 2008 occurred among blacks, who historically have been the most segregated.

States in the West where Asian and Hispanic immigrants are more numerous, including Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and California, were among the most likely to have couples who "marry out" - more than 1 in 5.

"In the past century, intermarriage has evolved from being illegal, to be a taboo and then to be merely unusual.

And with each passing year, it becomes less unusual," said Paul Taylor, director of Pew's Social & Demographic Trends project.

"But America still has a long way to go." The figures come from previous censuses as well as the 2008-2010 American Community Survey, which surveys 3 million households annually.

The figures for "white" refer to those whites who are not of Hispanic ethnicity.

Other findings: -Broken down by gender, black men were more than twice as likely as black women to marry someone outside their race - 24 percent to 9 percent.