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Age is the crucial factor with those in their 20s and 30s more than twice as likely to be living with someone from another background as those over 65, reflecting a less rigid approach to identity over time.
But the figures also shows marked differences in attitudes to outsiders within different communities – often reflected in the whether people are married or cohabiting.
Public approval of interracial marriage rose from around 5% in the 1950s to around 80% in the 2000s.
The proportion of interracial marriages is markedly different depending on the ethnicity and gender of the spouses.
By contrast 85 per cent of people from mixed-race families have themselves set up home with someone from another group.
People from an African background are five and a half times as likely to be in a mixed relationship as white people, while those of Indian ancestry are three times as likely.
But while the number of people from black, Asian and mixed-race backgrounds settling down with someone from another group have all risen, white people remain by far the most segregated on the domestic front.
“For example, some older people may have more traditional views on inter-ethnic relationships and they were also more likely to have entered into a relationship at a time when England and Wales was less ethnically diverse.
This ranking scheme illustrates the manner in which the barriers against desegregation fell: Of less importance was the segregation in basic public facilities, which was abolished with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The most tenacious form of legal segregation, the banning of interracial marriage, was not fully lifted until the last anti-miscegenation laws were struck down in 1967 by the Supreme Court ruling in the landmark Loving v. Social enterprise research conducted on behalf of the Columbia Business School (2005–2007) showed that regional differences within the United States in how interracial relationships are perceived have persisted: Daters of both sexes from south of the Mason–Dixon line were found to have much stronger same-race preferences than northern daters did.
During that period the number of people described on census forms as “mixed” or “multiple” ethnicity almost doubled from just 660,000 in 2001 to 1.2 million in 2011, making it by far the fastest growing category.
Overall almost one in 10 people living in Britain is married to or living with someone from outside their own ethnic group, the analysis from the Office for National Statistics shows. Only one in 25 white people have settled down with someone from outside their own racial background.
But the fact that those in mixed relationships are overall 50 per cent more likely to be cohabiting than married also reflects the shift away from marriage among younger people.