As recently as 1995 a majority of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage

I saw the chart above in an excellent article by  on the parallels between the civil rights and gay rights movements. It shows the results of Gallup’s polling on interracial marriage dating back to 1959.

It took me aback for a number of reasons:

  1. I’d have guessed the pattern would be that support would start at a low base and then rise but 4% is a very low base indeed!
  2. These results are not from a poll of white Americans but America as a whole. I don’t know what if any steps Gallup took to produce balanced samples. However, it seems possible that in 1959 even fewer than 4% of white Americans supported interracial marriages.
  3. It therefore follows that the majority of the people who supported the civil rights movement were by
  4. Approval of interracial marriages only became the majority position within the last twenty.
  5. They caused me to look up the equivalent British figures. They don’t go back as far but for the period they do exist are only moderately better than the American ones.

Update: just noticed the title of this post is inaccurate. It would be more accurate to have said ‘…did not approve…’ than ‘disapprove’.


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