Over the past four decades, immigration has increased the racial and ethnic diversity in the United States. Once a mainly biracial society with a large white majority and relatively small black minority—and an impenetrable color line dividing these groups—the United States is now a society composed of multiple racial and ethnic groups. Along with increased immigration are rises in the rates of racial/ethnic intermarriage, which in turn have led to a sizeable and growing multiracial population. Currently, 1 in 40 persons identifies himself or herself as multiracial, and this figure could soar to 1 in 5 by the year 2050. Increased racial and ethnic diversity brought about by the new immigration, rising intermarriage, and patterns of multiracial identification may be moving the nation far beyond the traditional and relatively persistent black/white color line. In this chapter, we review the extant theories and recent findings concerning immigration, intermarriage, and multiracial identification, and consider the implications for America's changing color lines. In particular, we assess whether racial boundaries are fading for all groups or whether America's newcomers are simply crossing over the color line rather than helping to eradicate it.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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