More Minnesotans say they’re multiracial in 2010 Census

More Minnesotans say they’re multiracial in 2010 Census Pioneer Press

Richard Chin and MaryJo Webster

Maybe it’s hip to be mixed.

That could be one explanation for Minnesota’s 51 percent increase over the past decade in the number of people who say they are multiracial, substantially higher than the national increase.

According to the recent U.S. census, about 125,000 people in Minnesota identified themselves as being of two or more races, up from about 83,000 in the previous census.

Almost all of that increase took place in the metro-area suburbs and outstate, where the number of multiracial people jumped more than 75 percent.

About 2.4 percent of Minnesota’s population is multiracial, about the same as the nation as a whole.

But multiracial people represent a larger part of the state’s minority population than of the U.S. population. Almost one of six nonwhite people in the state are multiracial, compared with about one in 10 nationwide.

University of Minnesota sociologist Carolyn Liebler, an expert in racial identity, said she thinks three things are driving the increase:

  • More children are from interracial marriages, with parents in those marriages increasingly likely to identify their offspring as multiracial.
  • Immigration has increased, with people born in another country who have a mixed background more likely to say they come from two or more races.
  • More people are deciding to label themselves multiracial because they face increasing acceptance and opportunity to make that choice.

Mixed-race people are nothing new. Most American blacks, for example, have some white ancestry.

But throughout much of American history, mixed-race people were forced legally and socially to identify with just one race…

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