More Americans than ever before identify as multiracial, according to the 2010 census.
Of the 9 million people who listed themselves as more than one race, 4.2 million are children. The percentage rose from 2.4 percent to 2.9 percent in the last 10 years.
In Texas, the number increased from 514,633 in 2000 to 679,001 in 2010, with the majority of those people identifying themselves as being white and any other race, said Jenna Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Dallas region of the U.S. Census Bureau.
The significant increase is not particularly surprising to those who study population trends, said sociology professor Ronald Angel.
“There’s more intermarriage,” he said. “[Being multiracial] just seems to be more accepted, just from the data.”
Those who were more likely to list themselves as being of more than one race tended to be Native Hawaiians, American Indians and Pacific Islanders, while blacks and whites were less likely to report being multiracial, according to The New York Times.
Fewer people also worry about the stigma behind interracial marriages, Angel said.
“It’s just a reflection of the fact that the barriers that separate people are probably not as strong as they were,” Angel said. “[Children] are not ashamed to claim that they’re multiracial, and for a lot of people, it’s a point of pride.”
This trend is also less surprising because in recent years, fewer people are prejudiced, Angel said.
“People are just more reasonable and more open to ethnic differences, and things that used to be taboo are no longer as taboo for as many people,” he said.
Multiracial students at UT have not felt particularly segregated because of their races, said geography senior Daniel Thomas, whose mother is of Jamaican descent and whose father was white. He said he thinks the increase in people identifying themselves as multiracial is something that can only be beneficial to society.
“I think that’s what humanity is destined for, to mix up this big bowl of genes that we’ve got,” Thomas said.