Colin and-Joyce, married Australian activists

Most Aboriginal men and women intermarry with non-indigenous Australians, new research has shown.

Analysis of the 2006 census reveals that 52% of Aboriginal men and 55% of Aboriginal women were married to non-Aboriginal Australians.

In Australia’s larger east coast cities, the intermarriage rate was well above 70%; in Sydney, as many as nine out of 10 university-educated Aborigines had a non-indigenous partner.

Until the 1970s, hostility to such unions prompted the government to remove their children, creating what became known as the “stolen generation.” Researchers from Melbourne’s Monash University say the growth in intermarriage is evidence that racism is waning in Australia.

Dr Bob Birrell, who led the research said: “In the US, the social divide between black and white is deep, and intermarriage rates with African Americans is 8%. We don’t see any parallel here. Prejudice to intermarriage has pretty much evaporated.”

He said a growing number of people identified themselves as Aboriginal – up from 250,738 in 1982 to 455,028 in 2006 – which was further evidence of declining prejudice.

But Birrell said demographics, not politics, were the main factor in the growth of cross-cultural relationships. Intermarriage was “especially high when the indigenous move into communities where they are the minority”, he said.

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