Biracial Child: Key U.S. States for Raising Biracial Kids

A biracial child needs to grow up in a community where other interracial families live, work and interact. Although a supportive family is crucial to a child's development, it is especially beneficial for a child to see interracial marriages and mixed race faces outside the home.

When an acquaintance of mine (who had been living in Mexico for the past five years) decided to return to the U.S. with her three adopted (and biracial children), she asked me to find out which geographic areas might be better suited for her family.

It is beneficial for such children to grow up in communities that are racially diverse and have a higher percentage of interracial couples and marriages because it is more likely that there will be:

  • An overall climate of tolerance for people of all races, including those of mixed race descent.
  • More multiracial people in positions of authority.
  • More support groups and services.
  • A tendency to celebrate diversity.
  • Recognition of the complex identity issues faced by biracial children.
  • More people who share biracial and multiracial heritages.

Following is information from the U.S. Census Bureau that shows the percentages of biracial children living in different states across our country. (Source: Census 2000. Census 2000 allowed Americans to check more than one category for their race for the first time in history.)

The most common category for multiracial children was "White and SOR (some other race). This includes all races that do not identify as White and Black, Asian or Native American. In this category, the top states to live in are Texas (48.2%), New Mexico (47.9%), Arizona (38.9%), California (36.8%), Illinois (34.1%), New Jersey (32.8%), Colorado (31.1%), Idaho (30.6%), New York (30.5%) and Wyoming (29.7%).

The next mixed race category is White and Black. In this category, the top states to live in are West Virginia (49.8%), Kentucky (47.2%), Ohio (44.0%), Indiana (41.4%), Pennsylvania (39.2%), Iowa (37.6%), Delaware (37.6%), Tennessee (36.8%), South Carolina (35.5%) and Missouri (34.3%)

The next category is White and Asian. Top states in this category are Washington (25.4%), New Hampshire (23.9%), Hawaii (23.5%), Virginia (21.7%), Maine (20.8%), Oregon (20.8%), Vermont (20.%), California (19.7%), Idaho (19.1%) and Nevada (18.9%).The final category is White and American Indian/American Native. Here the states with the highest percentage of biracial children are California (57.7%), Montana (53.2%), Alaska (46.3%), South Dakota (45.0%), North Dakota (43.5%), Vermont (32.9%), Arkansas (31.1%), Maine (30.9%), Wyoming (29.6%) and Alabama (25.9%)

Although parents in interracial marriages may not always be able to choose which state to live in, when it's possible making informed choices can give biracial children a better start in life.

Laura is a white woman who is married to a Native American man and raising their biracial children to take pride in their identities. Her book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting uses ancient Native American concepts and teaching stories to raise children to develop their strengths and lead lives of meaning and fulfillment. The book is for any parent of any creed or color and can be used by interracial families as a guide for how to raise biracial children to embrace all aspects of their multiracial heritage and be strong in their identity.

raising your biracial child

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