Interracial Marriage, Migration and Loving
The United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Loving v. Virginia in 1967, which forced 16 Southern states to strike down their anti-miscegenation laws, creates a unique opportunity to explore the impact of an exogenous change in a state’s laws regulating interracial marriages. This study investigates the relationship between anti-miscegenation laws, black/white interracial marriage and black Americans’ geographical distribution using three decades of the U.S. census data. The results suggest that the timing and voluntary/involuntary repeal of statutes banning black/white interracial marriages impacted the locational distribution of married black males. The relationship is less clear-cut for black females. However, length of exposure to anti-miscegenation laws is found to be related to the geographical sorting patterns of both black males and females. A few patterns in the data suggest that social norms and local culture may be influential in this relationship and the findings imply that unless a society is ready to change, the government cannot fully offset the negative impact of past bans and punishments.
KeywordsInterracial marriage Migration Anti-miscegenation laws U.S. Supreme Court
JEL ClassificationsJ12 J15
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