Census Was Wrong: 7 Percent of Americans Are Multiracial, Not 2 percent

Every day, the number of multiracial babies born in the United States keeps growing—three times faster than the country as a whole. That's the conclusion of a Pew Research Center survey of about 21,000 adults from multiple racial backgrounds.

The survey, conducted earlier this year, shows that the mixed-race population in the United States is actually larger than estimated by the U.S. Census. The Pew survey showed that about 7 percent of the country is multiracial, not 2 percent, as estimated by the Census Bureau.

"We went beyond the Census and asked people about their biological parents and grandparents," said Juliana Menasce Horowitz, associate director of social trends research for Pew Research Center. "So if someone said they were black or Native American, we were able to explore their connection to mixed-race relatives."

With a growing number of interracial marriages and multiracial babies, what does that mean for the world of politics? Right now, the country's largest biracial group is white and Native American, according to the Pew survey. It's also the only biracial group that is more conservative than liberal (37 percent compared to 18 percent) and that leans Republican. However, the numbers might draw criticism because Latinos were not included in most of the calculations, since the Census Bureau considers "Hispanic" an ethnicity, not a race.

The most liberal group of biracial people are white-Asians. About 35 percent of those they surveyed identified as liberal, and only 14 percent said they were conservative (the rest labeled themselves moderate). About 27 percent of biracial white-black Americans identified as liberal, and only nine percent said they were conservative.

When it comes to public policy, multiracial adults are more likely than most people to support marijuana legalization. Its biggest supporters are white-Asians, 90 percent of whom favor its medical or recreational use.

Multiracial adults also are big advocates for gun ownership rights, not gun control measures. A whopping 70 percent of white-Native Americans favor protecting the right to own guns, followed by 56 percent of white-Asians.

Regarding abortion, mixed-race Americans are more likely to say abortion should be legal in most cases instead of illegal in most situations. About 8 in 10 white-Asians surveyed believe that, making them the largest biracial group to favor abortion rights, according to the survey.

Despite strong opinions about public policy, a large number of multiracial Americans shun political parties. About 44 percent of those surveyed said they didn't identify with any party.

"They reject the traditional Democrat and Republican labels," Menasce Horowitz said. "It could be because multiracial adults tend to be younger, and younger people are more likely to be independent. That explains a lot."