Multiracial is defined as made up of or relating to people of many races.[1] Many terms exist for people of various multiracial backgrounds. Preferred terms include mixed race (or simply mixed), multiracial, biracial, multiethnic, polyethnic, half, half-and-half, Métis, Creole, Dougla, mestizo, mulatto, Melungeon, Criollo, quadroon, zambo, Eurasian, hapa, hāfu, garifuna and pardo. Some of the terms are considered insulting and offensive.

Individuals of multiracial backgrounds make up a significant portion of the population in many parts of the world. In North America, studies have found that the multiracial population is continuing to grow. In many countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, people with multiracial backgrounds make up the majority of the population. Other countries where multiracial people make up a sizable portion of the population are the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Singapore, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong, South Africa, Botswana, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, Philippines and Fiji.


While defining race is controversial,[2] race remains a commonly used term for categorization. Insofar as race is defined differently in different cultures, perceptions of multiraciality will naturally be subjective.

According to U.S. sociologist Troy Duster and ethicist Pilar Ossorio:

Some percentage of people who look white will possess genetic markers indicating that a significant majority of their recent ancestors were African. Some percentage of people who look black will possess genetic markers indicating the majority of their recent ancestors were European.[3]

In the United States:

Many state and local agencies comply with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 1997 revised standards for the collection, tabulation, and presentation of federal data on race and ethnicity. The revised OMB standards identify a minimum of five racial categories: White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Perhaps the most significant change for Census 2000 was that respondents were given the option to mark one or more races on the questionnaire to indicate their racial identity. Census 2000 race data are shown for people who reported a race either alone or in combination with one or more other races.[4]

Related terms

In the English-speaking world, many terms for people of various multiracial backgrounds exist, some of which are pejorative or are no longer used. Mulato, zambo and mestizo are used in Spanish, mulato, caboclo, cafuzo, ainoko (from Japanese) and mestiço in Portuguese and mulâtre and métis in French for people of multiracial descent. These terms are also in certain contexts used in the English-speaking world. In Canada, the Métis are a recognized ethnic group of mixed European and First Nation descent, who have status in the law similar to that of First Nations.

Terms such as mulatto for people of partially African descent and mestizo for people of partially Native American descent are still used by English-speaking people of the western hemisphere, but mostly when referring to the past or to the demography of Latin America and its diasporic population. Half-breed is a historic term that referred to people of partial Native American ancestry; it is now considered pejorative and discouraged from use. Mestee, once widely used, is now used mostly for members of historically mixed-race groups, such as Louisiana Creoles, Melungeons, Redbones, Brass Ankles and Mayles. In South Africa, and much of English-speaking southern Africa, the term Coloured was used to describe a mixed-race person and also Asians not of African descent.[5] While the term is socially accepted, it is becoming an outdated due to its association with the apartheid era.

In Latin America, where mixtures became tri-racial after the introduction of African slavery, a panoply of terms developed during the colonial period, including terms such as zambo for persons of Amerindian and African descent. Charts and diagrams intended to explain the classifications were common. The well-known Casta paintings in Mexico and, to some extent, Peru, were illustrations of the different classifications.

At one time, Latin American census categories have used such classifications, but in Brazilian censuses since the Imperial times, for example, most persons of multiracial heritage, except the Asian Brazilians of some European descent (or any other to the extent it is not clearly perceptible) and vice versa, tend to be thrown into the single category of "pardo", although race lines in Brazil do not denote ancestry but phenotype, and as such a westernized Amerindian of copper-colored skin is also a "pardo", a caboclo in this case, despite being not multiracial, but a European-looking person with one or more African or Indigenous American ancestor is not a "pardo" but a "branco", or a white Brazilian. The same applies to "negros" or Afro-Brazilians and European or Amerindian ancestors. Most Brazilians of all racial groups (except Asian-Brazilians and natives) are to some extent mixed-race according to genetic research.

In English, the terms miscegenation and amalgamation were used for unions between whites, blacks, and other ethnic groups. These terms are now often considered offensive and are becoming obsolete. The terms mixed-race, biracial or multiracial are becoming generally accepted. In other languages, translations of miscegenation did not become politically incorrect.

Regions with significant multiracial populations

Northern America

United States

Official portrait of Barack Obama
Barack Obama, former President of the United States. Obama's maternal ancestors were European; Obama's father was African.[6]

In the United States, the 2000 census was the first in the history of the country to offer respondents the option of identifying themselves as belonging to more than one race. This multiracial option was considered a necessary adaptation to the demographic and cultural changes that the United States has been experiencing.[7]

Multiracial Americans officially numbered 6.1 million in 2006, or 2.0% of the population.[8][9] There is considerable evidence that an accurate number would be much higher. Prior to the mid-20th century, many people hid their multiracial heritage. The development of binary thinking about race meant that African Americans, a high proportion of whom have also had European ancestry, were classified as black. Some are now reclaiming additional ancestries. Many Americans today are multi-racial without knowing it. According to the Census Bureau, as of 2002, over 75% of all African Americans had multiracial ancestries.[10]

In 2010, the number of Americans who checked both "black" and "white" on their census forms was 134 percent higher than it had been a decade earlier.[11]

According to James P. Allen and Eugene Turner from California State University, Northridge, by some calculations in the 2000 Census, the multiracial population that is part white is as follows:

  • white/Native American and Alaskan Native: 7,015,017,
  • white/African American: 737,492,
  • white/Asian: 727,197 and
  • white/Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 125,628.[12]

The stigma of a mixed race heritage, associated with racial discrimination among numerous racial groups, has decreased significantly in the United States. People of mixed-race heritage can identify themselves now in the U.S. Census by any combination of races, whereas before Americans were required to select from only one category. For example, in 2010, they were offered choices of one or more racial categories from the following list:[13]

  • White
  • Black, African Am. or Negro
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian Indian
  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Native Hawaiian
  • Guamanian or Chamorro
  • Samoan
  • Other Asian [specify]
  • Other Pacific Islander [specify]
  • Some Other Race [specify]

Many mixed raced Americans use the term biracial. The U.S. has a growing multiracial identity movement, reflective of a desire by people to claim their full identities. Interracial marriage, most notably between whites and blacks, was historically deemed immoral and illegal in most states in the 18th, 19th and first half of the 20th century, due to its long association of blacks with the slave caste. California and the western US had similar laws to prohibit European-Asian marriages, which was associated with discrimination against Chinese and Japanese on the West Coast. Many states eventually repealed such laws and a 1967 decision by the US Supreme Court (Loving v. Virginia) overturned all remaining anti-miscegenation laws in the US.

The United States is one of the most racially diverse countries in the world. The American people are mostly multi-ethnic descendants of various immigrant nationalities culturally distinct in their former countries. Assimilation and integration took place, unevenly at different periods of history, depending on the American region. The "Americanization" of foreign ethnic groups and the inter-racial diversity of millions of Americans has been a fundamental part of its history, especially on frontiers where different groups of people came together.[14]

The former President of the United States, Barack Obama, is a multiracial American, as he is the son of a European American mother and a Luo father from Kenya. He acknowledges both parents. His official White House biography describes him as African American.[15] In Hawai'i, the U.S. state in which he was born, he would be called "hapa", which is the Hawaiian word for "mixed ethnic heritage".[16]


Keanu Reves in Mexico 2
Canadian actor and musician Keanu Reeves is of English, Native Hawaiian, Irish, Portuguese and Chinese descent.[17][18][19]

Multiracial Canadians in 2006 officially totaled 1.5% of the population, up from 1.2% in 2001, although, this number may actually be far higher. The official mixed race population grew by 25% since the previous census. Of these, the most frequent combinations were multiple visible minorities (for example, people of mixed black and South Asian heritage form the majority, specifically in Toronto), followed closely by white-black, white-Chinese, white-Arab and many other smaller mixes.[20]

During the time of slavery in the United States, a very large but unknown number of African American slaves escaped to Canada, where slavery was made illegal in 1834, via the Underground Railroad. Many of these people married in with European Canadian and Native Canadian populations, although their precise numbers and the numbers of their descendants, are not known.

Another 1.2% of Canadians officially are Métis (descendants of a historical population who were partially Aboriginal—also called "Indian" or "Native"—and European, particularly English, Scottish, Irish and French ethnic groups). Although listed as a single "race" in Canada, the Métis are therefore multiracial. In particular the Métis population may be far higher than the official numbers state, due to earlier racism causing people to historically hide their mixed heritage. This however is changing, although many Canadians may now be unaware of their mixed race heritage, especially those of Métis descent.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Jamaican dancehall artist Sean Paul's mother is of English and Chinese Jamaican descent; his paternal grandmother was Afro-Caribbean and his paternal grandfather was a Sephardic Jew from Portugal.[21]

Mestizo is the common word used to describe multiracial people in Latin America, especially people with Native American and Spanish or other European ancestry. Mestizos make up a large portion of Latin Americans, comprising a majority in many countries.

In Latin America, racial mixture was officially acknowledged from colonial times. There was official nomenclature for every conceivable mixture present in the various countries. Initially, this classification was used as a type of caste system, where rights and privileges were accorded depending on one's official racial classification. Official caste distinctions were abolished in many countries of the Spanish-speaking Americas as they became independent of Spain. Several terms have remained in common usage.

Race and racial mixture have played a significant role in the politics of many Latin American countries. In most countries, for example Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Panama, a majority of the population can be described as biracial or multiracial (depending on the country). In Mexico, over 80% of the population is mestizo in some degree or another.[22]

The Mexican philosopher and educator José Vasconcelos authored an essay on the subject, La Raza Cósmica, celebrating racial mixture. Venezuelan ex-president Hugo Chávez, himself of Spanish, indigenous and African ancestry, made positive references to the mixed race ancestry of most Latin Americans from time to time.

Colonialism throughout the West Indies has created diverse populations on many islands, including people of multiracial identities. Of note is the mixture of West African communities, most brought to the region as slaves and East Indian settlers most of whom came as indentured labor after the abolition of slavery. Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname claim the highest populations of such mixtures, known locally as douglas. In addition to mixed African and Indian heritage, inhabitants of Trinidad and Tobago can also have any combination of Amerindian, Latino, European, Chinese, Arab and Jewish heritage.


According to the 2010 official census, 43,13% of Brazilians identified themselves as pardo skin color.[25] That option is normally marked by people that consider themselves multiracial (mestiço). The Mixed Race Day or Mestizo Day (Dia do Mestiço), on 27 June, is official event in States of Amazonas, Roraima e Paraíba and a holyday in two cities. The term pardo is formally used in the official census but is not used by the population. In Brazilian society, most people who are multiracial call themselves moreno: light-moreno or dark-moreno. These terms are not considered offensive and focus more on skin color than on ethnicity (it is considered more like other human characteristics such as being short or tall).

The most common multiracial groups are between European and African (mulatto) and Amerindian and European (caboclo or mameluco). But there are also African and Amerindian (cafuzo) and East Asian (mostly Japanese) and European/other (ainoko or more recently, hāfu). All groups are more or less found throughout the whole country. Brazilian multiracials with the following three origins, Amerindian, European and African, make up the majority. It is said today that 89% or even more of the "Pardo" population in Brazil has at least one Amerindian ancestor (most of brancos or White Brazilian population have some Amerindian or African ancestry too despite nearly half of the country's population self-labeling as "Caucasian" in the censuses. In Brazil, it is very common for Mulattoes to claim that they don't have any Amerindian ancestry, though studies have found that if a Brazilian multiracial can trace their ancestry to nearly 8 to 9 generations back, they will have at least one Amerindian ancestor from their maternal side of the family.

Since multiracial relations in Brazilian society have occurred for many generations, some people find it difficult to trace their own ethnic ancestry. Today a majority of mixed-race Brazilians do not really know their ethnic ancestry. Due to their unique features that makes them Brazilian-looking like skin color, lips and nose shape or hair texture, they are only aware that their ancestors were probably Portuguese, African or Amerindian. Also there was a very large number of other Europeans (counted in the millions) who contributed to the Brazilian racial make up, Japanese (the largest Japanese population outside Japan), Italian (the largest Italian population outside Italy) Lebanese (the largest population of Lebanese outside Lebanon), Germans, Poles and Russians. There is also a high percentage of Brazilians of Jewish descent, perhaps hundreds of thousands, mostly found in the northeast of the country who cannot be sure of their ancestry as they descend from the so-called "Crypto-Jews" (Jews who practiced Judaism in secret while outwardly pretending to be Catholics, also called Marranos or New-Christians, often considered Portuguese); according to some sources, 1 out of every 3 families to arrive there from Portugal during the colonization was of Jewish origin.

There is a high level of integration between all groups. However, there exists a great social and economic difference between European descendants (found more among the upper and middle classes) and African, Amerindian and multiracial descendants (found more among the lower classes), what is called Brazilian apartheid.

United Kingdom

In 1991 an analysis of the census showed that 50% of Black Caribbean men born in the UK have white partners,[26] and the 2011 BBC documentary Mixed Britannia noted that 1 in 10 British children are growing up in interracial households.

In 2000, The Sunday Times reported that "Britain has the highest rate of interracial relationships in the world" and certainly the UK has the highest rate in the European Union.[27] The 2001 census showed the population of England to be 1.4% mixed-race, compared with 2.7% in Canada and 1.4% in the U.S. estimates of 1.4% in 2002, although this U.S. figure did not include mixed-race people who had a black parent. Both the US and UK have fewer people identifying as mixed race, however, than Canada. By 2020 the mixed-race population is expected to become Britain's largest ethnic minority group with the highest growth rate.[28]

In the United Kingdom, many multiracial people have Caribbean, African or Asian heritage. For example, supermodel Naomi Campbell, who has Jamaican, African and Asian roots. Some, like 2008 Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, are referred to or describe themselves as 'mixed'.

The 2001 UK Census included a section entitled 'Mixed' to which 1.4% (1.6% by 2005 estimates) of people responded, which was split further into White and Black Caribbean, White and Asian, White and Black African and Other Mixed. Despite this, 2005 birth records for the country state at least 3.5% of newborn babies as mixed race.[29]

North Africa and Middle East

In North Africa, a large number of multiracial communities can also be found. Among these are the Haratin oasis-dwellers of Saharan southern Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. They are believed to be a mixture of Black Africans and Berbers, and constitute a socially and ethnically distinct group.[30]

Arab and Ottoman slave traders sold slaves in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries throughout the Persian Gulf, Anatolia, Central Asia and the Arab world and communities descended from these slaves can be found throughout these regions.[31]


Almost the entire population of Madagascar is an about equal admixture of South East Asian (Indonesian) primarily from Borneo and Bantu-speaking settlers primarily from Mozambique.[32] Years of intermarriages created the Malagasy people, who primarily speak Malagasy, an Austronesian language with Bantu influences.[32]

South Africa

Extended Coloured family from South Africa.

In South Africa, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 prohibited marriage between Whites (people of European descent) and non-Whites (being classified as African, Asian and Coloured). It was repealed in 1985.

Multiracial South Africans are commonly referred to as coloureds. According to the 2016 South African Census [33], they are the second largest minority (8.8%) after white South Africans (8.1%).

Central Asia

Aida Garifullina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony
Aida Garifullina, operatic soprano of Tatar origin.

Today, many Central Asian populations are an amalgamation of various peoples such as Mongols, Turkics, and Iranians. The Mongol invasion of Central Asia in 13th century resulted in the massacre of the population of Iranians and other Indo-European peoples as well as a large degree of intermarriage and assimilation. Genetic studies shows that Central Asian Turkic people and Hazara are a mixture of Northeast Asians and Indo-European people. Caucasian ancestry is prevalent in almost all central Asian Turkic people. Kazakhs, Hazara, Karakalpaks, Crimean Tatars have more European mtdna than European y-dna. Kyrgyz have mostly European y-dna with substantial European mtdna. Other Turkic people like Uyghurs and Uzbeks have mostly European y-dna but also a significantly higher percentage of European mtdna. Turkmen have predominantly European y-dna and mtdna.[34]

East Asia


During the 1662 Siege of Fort Zeelandia in which Chinese Ming loyalist forces commanded by Koxinga besieged and defeated the Dutch East India Company and conquered Taiwan, the Chinese took Dutch women and children prisoner. The Dutch missionary Antonius Hambroek, two of his daughters, and his wife were among the Dutch prisoners of war with Koxinga. Koxinga sent Hambroek to Fort Zeelandia demanding he persuade them to surrender or else Hambroek would be killed when he returned. Hambroek returned to the Fort, where two of his other daughters were. He urged the Fort not to surrender, and returned to Koxinga's camp. He was then executed by decapitation, and in addition to this, a rumor was spreading among the Chinese that the Dutch were encouraging the native Taiwan aboriginals to kill Chinese, so Koxinga ordered the mass execution Dutch male prisoners in retaliation, in addition to a few women and children also being killed. The surviving Dutch women and children were then turned into slaves. Koxinga took Hambroek's teenage daughter as a concubine,[35][36][37] and Dutch women were sold to Chinese soldiers to become their wives, the daily journal of the Dutch fort recorded that "the best were preserved for the use of the commanders, and then sold to the common soldiers. Happy was she that fell to the lot of an unmarried man, being thereby freed from vexations by the Chinese women, who are very jealous of their husbands."[38] In 1684 some of these Dutch wives were still captives of the Chinese.[39]

Some Dutch physical looks like auburn and red hair among people in regions of south Taiwan are a consequence of this episode of Dutch women becoming concubines to the Chinese commanders.[40] The Chinese took Dutch women as slave concubines and wives and they were never freed: in 1684 some were reported to be living, in Quemoy a Dutch merchant was contacted with an arrangement to release the prisoners which was proposed by a son of Koxinga's but it came to nothing.[41] The Chinese officers used the Dutch women they received as concubines.[42][43][44] The Dutch women were used for sexual pleasure by Koxinga's commanders.[45] This event of Dutch women being distributed to the Chinese soldiers and commanders was recorded in the daily journal of the fort.[46]

A teenage daughter of the Dutch missionary Anthonius Hambroek became a concubine to Koxinga, she was described by the Dutch commander Caeuw as "a very sweet and pleasing maiden".[47][48]

Dutch language accounts record this incident of Chinese taking Dutch women as concubines and the date of Hambroek's daughter.[49][50][51][52]

Indian subcontinent


Kolkata Derozio statue
Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, a radical thinker and educator, was of Indian and European background.

Anglo-Indians are a Eurasian mix which originated in India during the Colonial period beginning with the French, Dutch, Portuguese and other Europeans who came along with them, continuing during the British Raj in India. The estimated population of Anglo-Indians is 600,000 worldwide with the majority living in India and the UK.

Article 366(2) of the Indian Constitution defines Anglo-Indian as:[53][54]

(2) an Anglo-Indian means a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India and is or was born within such territory of parents habitually resident therein and not established there for temporary purposes only;

Goans are an assimilation of Indo-Aryan, Eurasian and Luso-Asians ancestries, with many being descendants of the Portuguese, who had a considerable influence on Goa for over 450 years. Many Goans have a considerable amount of Portuguese in them, and tracing back family trees often proves that their family began with Portuguese people who lived many hundreds of years ago. Many Goans today identify their nationality as Portuguese-Goan as they have much Portuguese ancestry and Portuguese surnames.

Sri Lanka

Due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, the island of Sri Lanka has been a confluence for settlers from various parts of the world, which has resulted in the formation of several mixed-race ethnicities in the Island. The most notable mixed-race group are the Sri Lankan Moors, who trace their ancestry from Arab traders who settled on the island and intermarried with local women. Today, The Sri Lankan Moors live primarily in urban communities, preserving their Arab-Islamic cultural heritage while adopting many Southern Asian customs.

The Burghers are a Eurasian ethnic group, consisting for the most part of male-line descendants of European colonists from the 16th to 20th centuries (mostly Portuguese, Dutch, German and British) and local women, with some minorities of Swedish, Norwegian, French and Irish.

The Sri Lanka Kaffirs are an ethnic group partially descended from 16th-century Portuguese traders and the African slaves who were brought by them. The Kaffirs spoke a distinctive creole based on Portuguese, the Sri Lanka Kaffir language, now extinct. Their cultural heritage includes the dance styles Kaffringna and Manja, as well as the Portuguese Sinhalese, Creole, Afro-Sinhalese varieties.

Southeast Asia

Burma (Myanmar)

Burma (Myanmar) was ruled by the British, from 1826 until 1948. Many European groups vied for control of the country before the British arrived. Intermarriage and mixed-relationships between these settlers and merchants with the local Burmese population and subsequently between British colonists and the Burmese created a local Eurasian population, known as the Anglo-Burmese. This group dominated colonial society and through the early years of independence. Most Anglo-Burmese now reside primarily in Australia, New Zealand and the UK since Burma received her independence in 1948 with an estimated 52,000 left behind in Burma.

Singapore and Malaysia

According to government statistics, the population of Singapore as of September 2007 was 4.68 million, of whom multiracial people, including Chindians and Eurasians, formed 2.4%.

In Singapore and Malaysia, the majority of inter-ethnic marriages are between Chinese and Indians. The offspring of such marriages are informally known as "Chindian", though the Malaysian government only classifies them by their father's ethnicity. As the majority of these intermarriages usually involve an Indian groom and Chinese bride, the majority of Chindians in Malaysia are usually classified as "Indian" by the Malaysian government. As for the Malays, who are predominantly Muslim, legal restrictions in Malaysia make it uncommon for them to intermarry with either the Indians, who are predominantly Hindu, or the Chinese, who are predominantly Buddhist and Taoist.[55] It is, however, common for Muslims and Arabs in Singapore and Malaysia to take local Malay wives, due to a common Islamic faith.[56]

The Chitty people, in Singapore and the Malacca state of Malaysia, are Tamils with considerable Malay descent. This was due to the first Tamil settlers taking local wives, since they did not bring along any of their own women with them.

In the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, there have been many incidents of intermarriage between Chinese and native tribes such as the Murut and Dusun in Sabah, and the Iban and Bisaya in Sarawak. This phenomenon has resulted in a potpourri of cultures in both states where many people claiming to be of native descent have some Chinese blood in them, and many Chinese have native blood in them. The offspring of these mixed marriages are called "Sino-(name of tribe)", e.g. Sino-Dusun. Normally, if the father is Chinese, the offspring will adopt Chinese culture and if the father is native then native culture will be adopted, but this is not always the case. These Sino-natives are usually fluent in Malay and English. A smaller number are able to speak Chinese dialects and Mandarin, especially those who have received education in vernacular Chinese schools.


The Philippines was a Spanish colony for almost four centuries or 333 years, and by the United States for 46 years. This is the cause of many mixed race Filipinos of Spanish Filipino and Philippine-American descent.

After the defeat of Spain during the Spanish–American War in 1898, the Philippines and other remaining Spanish colonies were ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. The Philippines was under U.S. sovereignty until 1946, though occupied by Japan during World War II. In 1946, in the Treaty of Manila, the U.S. Recognized the Republic of the Philippines as an independent nation. Even after 1946, the U.S. maintained a heavy military presence in the Philippines, with as many as 21 U.S. military bases and 100,000 U.S. military personnel stationed there. The bases closed in 1992, leaving behind thousands of Amerasian children.[57] Pearl S. Buck International foundation estimates there are 52,000 Amerasians scattered throughout the Philippines with 5,000 in the Clark area of Angeles City.[58] although an academic research paper presented in the U.S. (in 2012) by an Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines Amerasian college research study unit suggests that the number could be a lot more.[59]

In the United States, intermarriage among Filipinos with other races is common. They have the largest number of interracial marriages among Asian immigrant groups, as documented in California.[60] It is also noted that 21.8% of Philippine-Americans are of mixed lineage.[61]


Under terms of the Geneva Accords of 1954, departing French troops took thousands of Vietnamese wives and children with them after the First Indochina War. Some 100,000 Eurasians stayed in Vietnam, though after independence from French rule.[62]

New Zealand

The local Māori were joined from the 1840s onward by large numbers of Europeans colonists, and successive waves of other immigrants. Racial mixing is common, including with later Pacific and Asian immigrants, so that the vast majority of New Zealand's half million Māori now also have some other ancestry,[63] and many who identify as Pākehā may also have Māori forebears.

At the 2013 census, 11.2 percent of people reported belonging to more than one ethnic group. Younger people were more likely to be multiracial; 22.8 percent of children under 15 reported multiple ethnicities, compared to only 2.6 percent of people 65 and over.[64] Examples of mixed-race New Zealanders include opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa, actress Rena Owen, sportsman Kees Meeuws and former Governor General Paul Reeves.


Fiji has long been a multi-ethnic country, with a vast majority of people having multi-racial heritages even if they do not self-identify in that manner. The indigenous Fijians are of mixed Melanesian and Polynesian ancestry, resulting from years of migration of islanders from various places mixing with each other. Fiji Islanders from the Lau group have intermarried with Tongans and other Polynesians over the years. The overwhelming majority of the rest of the indigenous Fijians, though, can be genetically traced to having mixed Polynesian/Melanesian ancestry.

The Indo-Fijian population is also a hodge-podge of South Asian immigrants (called Girmits in Fiji), who came as indentured labourers beginning in 1879. While a few of these labourers managed to bring wives, many of them either took or were given wives once they arrived in Fiji. The Girmits, who are classified as simply "Indians" to this day, came from many parts of the Indian subcontinent of present-day India, Pakistan and to a lesser degree Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is easy to recognize the Indian mixtures present in Fiji and see obvious traces of Southern and Northern Indians and other groups who have been categorised together. To some degree, even more of this phenomenon would have likely happened if the religious groups represented (primarily Hindu, Muslim and Sikh) had not resisted to some degree marriage between religious groups, which tended to be from more similar parts of the Indian subcontinent.

Over the years, particularly in the sugar cane-growing regions of Western Viti Levu and parts of Vanua Levu, Indo-Fijians and Indigenous Fijians have mixed. Others have Chinese/Fijian ancestry, Indo-Fijian/Samoan or Rotuman ancestry and European/Fijian ancestry (often called "part Fijians"). The latter are often descendents of shipwrecked sailors and settlers who came during the colonial period. Migration from a dozen or more different Pacific countries (Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa and Wallis and Futuna being the most prevalent) have added to the various ethnicities and intermarriages.

Ethnic groups

The following is a list of ethnic divisions that may contain a mixture of two or more racial groups.

African and or Amerindian origin

African-Asian origin

African-European origin

American-European origin

Asian origin

Arab-Bantu/Nilotic origin

Asian-European or Eurasian origin

African-American-Asian-European origin

Other types

See also


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  2. ^ "Not surprisingly, biomedical scientists are divided in their opinions about race. Some characterize it as 'biologically meaningless' or 'not based on scientific evidence', whereas others advocate the use of race in making decisions about medical treatment or the design of research studies." Lynn B. Jorde; Stephen P. Wooding (2004). "Genetic variation, classification and 'race'". Nature Genetics. 36 (11 Suppl): S28–S33. doi:10.1038/ng1435. PMID 15508000. citing Guido Barbujani; Arianna Magagni; Eric Minch; L. Luca Cavalli=Sforza (April 1997). "An apportionment of human DNA diversity" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 94 (9): 4516–4519. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.9.4516..
  3. ^ Carolyn Abraham, "Molecular Eyewitness: DNA Gets a Human Face" Archived 5 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine (quoted from Globe and Mail, 25 June 2005), RaceSci.
  4. ^ "Modified Race Data Summary File". 2000 Census of Population and Housing. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 18 September 2004. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  5. ^ Denis MacShane; Martin Plaut; David Ward (1984). Power!: Black Workers, Their Unions and the Struggle for Freedom in South Africa. South End Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-89608-244-1.
  6. ^ Andrew Jolivétte (February 2012). Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority. Policy Press. ISBN 978-1-4473-0100-4.
  7. ^ The New Race Question: How The Census Counts Multiracial Individuals. Russell Sage Foundation. 2005. ISBN 978-0871546586.
  8. ^ "B02001. RACE – Universe: TOTAL POPULATION". 2006 American Community Survey. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  9. ^ Jones, Nicholas A.; Amy Symens Smith. "The Two or More Races Population: 2000. Census 2000 Brief" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  10. ^ Stephen M. Quintana; Clark McKown, eds. (2008). Handbook of Race, Racism, and the Developing Child. John Wiley & Sons. p. 211. ISBN 978-0470189801. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  11. ^ Cohn, D'Vera. "Multi-Race and the 2010 Census". Retrieved 26 April 2011.
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  • Hudecek, Sau Le (2017). The Rebirth of Hope: My Journey from Vietnam War Child to American Citizen]. Texas: Texas Christian University Press. ISBN 978-0875654324.

External links

  • [1], a film by Youmanity celebrating interracial marriages
  • The Multiracial Activist, an online activist publication registered with the Library of Congress, focused on multiracial individuals and interracial families since 1997
  • ProjectRACE, an organization leading the movement for a multiracial classification
Advocacy groups

Afro-Arabs are people of mixed Arab and African descent as well as groups from Sub-Saharan Africa who have adopted Arab culture. Most Afro-Arabs inhabit North Africa and the Swahili Coast in the African Great Lakes region.

Afro-Seminole Creole

Afro-Seminole Creole (ASC) is a dialect of Gullah spoken by Black Seminoles in scattered communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Northern Mexico.It was first identified as a distinct language in 1978 by Ian Hancock, a linguist at the University of Texas. The Creole developed when Black Seminoles and Seminoles lived together in Florida in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.Present-day speakers of Afro-Seminole Creole live in Seminole County, Oklahoma, and Brackettville, Texas, in the United States and in Nacimiento de los Negros, Coahuila, in Mexico. The language is considered threatened with extinction. There are about 200 speakers of the language. A majority of the living speakers are descendants of Black Seminoles who once lived at Fort Clark and are at least 65 years old.


An Amerasian originally meant a person born in Asia to an Asian mother and a U.S. military father. Most modern day Amerasian are either half or quarter American origin.

Several countries have significant populations of Amerasians in South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and, most notably, the Philippines, the last having had the largest US air and naval bases outside the US mainland.


Coloureds (Afrikaans: Kleurlinge) are a multiracial ethnic group native to Southern Africa who have ancestry from more than one of the various populations inhabiting the region, including Khoisan, Bantu, Afrikaner, English, Austronesian, East Asian or South Asian. Because of the combination of ethnicities, different families and individuals within a family may have a variety of different physical features.In the Western Cape, a distinctive Cape Coloured and affiliated Cape Malay culture developed. In other parts of Southern Africa, people classified as Coloured were usually the descendants of individuals from two distinct ethnicities. Genetic studies suggest the group has the highest levels of mixed ancestry in the world. Mitochondrial DNA studies have demonstrated that the maternal lines of the Coloured population are descended mostly from African Khoisan women. This ethnicity shows a gender-biased admixture. Male lines have been primarily African, Asian Indian, and Southeast Asian.

Coloureds are to be mostly found in the western part of South Africa. In Cape Town, they form 45.4% of the total population, according to the South African National Census of 2011.The apartheid-era Population Registration Act, 1950, and subsequent amendments, codified the Coloured identity, and defined its subgroups. Indian South Africans were initially classified under the act as a subgroup of Coloured.

Creole peoples

Creole people are ethnic groups which originated during the colonial-era from racial mixing between Europeans and non-European peoples, known as creolisation. Creole peoples vary widely in ethnic background and mixture, and many have since developed distinct ethnic identities. The development of creole languages is sometimes mistakenly attributed to the emergence of creole ethnic identities; however, they are independent developments.

Demographics of the Cayman Islands

This article is about the demographic features of the population of the Cayman Islands, including population density, ethnicity, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.


Dougla (or Dugla or Dogla) is a word used by people especially in Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Guyana to describe people who are of mixed African and Indian descent.


Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the genders. This includes fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.

Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, and to have maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have often been part of feminist movements.Some scholars consider feminist campaigns to be a main force behind major historical societal changes for women's rights, particularly in the West, where they are near-universally credited with achieving women's suffrage, gender neutrality in English, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, mainly focused on women's rights, some feminists, including bell hooks, argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims because they believe that men are also harmed by traditional gender roles.Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues concerning gender.Numerous feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the years and represent different viewpoints and aims. Some forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle class, and college-educated perspectives. This criticism led to the creation of ethnically specific or multicultural forms of feminism, including black feminism and intersectional feminism.


Half-breed is a term, now considered derogatory, used to describe anyone who is of mixed race; although, in the United States, it usually refers to people who are half Native American and half European/white.


The term hapa is a Native Hawaiian word which is literally translated as "part" or "mix." In Hawaii, the word refers to any person of mixed ethnic heritage, regardless of the specific mixture. In California, the term has been used recently for any person of East Asian or Southeast Asian admixture. Therefore, the two uses are concurrent.


Mameluco is a Portuguese word that denotes the first generation child of a European and an Amerindian. It corresponds to the Spanish word mestizo.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Mameluco was used to refer to organized bands of slave-hunters, also known as bandeirantes, who roamed the interior of South America from the Atlantic to the foothills of the Andes, and from Paraguay to the Orinoco river, invading Guarani-occupied areas in search of slaves.

The word may have become common in Portugal in the Middle Ages, deriving from the Arabic, "Mamluk", "slave", commonly referring to soldiers and rulers of slave origin, especially in Egypt.

Marabou (ethnicity)

Marabou (French: marabout) is a term of Haitian origin denoting multiracial admixture. The term describes the offspring of a Haitian person of mixed race: Europeans, Africans, Taíno Indian and South Asians (East Indians) ancestry.

The Marabou label dates to the colonial period of Haiti’s history, meaning the offspring of a mullato and a griffe person. However, Médéric-Louis-Elie Moreau de Saint-Méry, in his 3-volume work on the colony describes Marabous as the product of the union of a black and a quadroon, he says nothing concerning East Indians. The East Indian association with that term is probably due solely to the resemblance between dark-skinned Indians and marabous. Describing Marabous as an ethnic group is a stretch since the term applies to any person of mixed heritage with dark skin and straight or wavy hair. Marabous are no more an ethnic group than grimeaus, mulattoes, quadroons, or octoroons are; these terms merely describe the different phenotypes of mixed-race people.


Mestiço, in Colonial Brazil, the Portuguese-speaking part of Latin America, was initially used to refer to mamelucos, persons born from a couple in which one was an Indigenous American and the other a European. It literally translates as "mameluke", probably referring to the common Iberian comparisons of swarthy people to North Africans (cf. moreno, "tawny, swarthy, tanned" but also "dark colored" or "dark-haired human", from mouro, "Moor").

The term mameluco fell in disuse in Brazil and was replaced by the much more familiar-sounding caboclo (formerly caboco, from Tupi ka'abok, "the ones coming from the wilderness") or cariboca/curiboca (from kari'boka, "what comes from the white man"; could also mean the child of a caboclo and a white person, equivalent to the Spanish castizo, or to the child of a caboclo and an Indigenous person, equivalent to the Spanish cholo), given the fact that most Brazilians, even those living in ubiquitously Christian villages and towns, spoke Tupi and the Tupi-derived línguas gerais until the 18th century, when they were banned by the Marquis of Pombal in 1777. A young Indigenous or caboclo boy would be a piá, from Tupi pyã, "heart", the way Indigenous mothers referred to their children. In modern-day Brazil (most particularly in the south), nevertheless, this word became general slang for any boy, regardless of race.

Even before the use of the Portuguese language in public became mandatory for Brazilians, nevertheless, other categories of mestiço appeared, with the introduction of African slavery by the Portuguese to Brazil and subsequent assimilation of them, whether enslaved, free or runaway, in both Portuguese settlements and Indigenous villages, as well as the Portuguese colonization of Africa and Asia.

A mulato (from muladi) was a person of simultaneous visible European and African descent. A cafuzo, cafuso, cafuz, carafuz, carafuzo, cafúzio, cabo-verde, caburé or caboré (the last three from Tupi caá-poré, "forest dweller") was a person of Amerindian and African descent, with jíbaro being someone who was a quarter Amerindian and three quarters African, and a juçara would be a visibly tri-racial person of mixed African, European and Amerindian descent (from Tupi yi'sara, "palm tree", "thorny one(s)", possibly by comparison of their phenotype with açaí berries, produced by the juçara palm tree). Any person of mixed African descent could be referred to as cabrocha (lit. "young, small goat"; with cabra, "goat", being a common synonym of man in Brazilian Portuguese, particularly in the northeast), which initially referred to a young child of a black and a white person.

Pardo, the Portuguese word for a light brown color ("the color of a leopard", particularly in the context of complexion), evolved to mean any visibly mixed-race person that would not pass for any other race, to the exception of those of lighter complexion, who could be morenos (if dark-haired) or sararás (if light-haired, from Tupi sara-ra, "red-haired"; nevertheless, sarará evolved to mean only those of African descent more recently).

Mixed (United Kingdom ethnicity category)

Mixed is an ethnicity category that has been used by the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics since the 1991 Census. Colloquially it refers to British citizens or residents whose parents are of two or more different races or ethnic backgrounds. Mixed race people are the fastest growing ethnic group in the UK and numbered 1.25 million in the 2011 census.


Mulatto () is a term generally used to refer to people born of one white parent and one black parent, or from two mulatto parents. Although historically considered a factual, fair term of racial classification, in modern day, it is generally considered to be derogatory or offensive.

Multiracial Americans

Multiracial Americans are Americans who have mixed ancestry of two or more races. The term may also include Americans of mixed race ancestry who self-identify with just one group culturally and socially (cf. the one-drop rule). In the 2010 US census, approximately 9 million individuals or 2.9% of the population, self-identified as multiracial. There is evidence that an accounting by genetic ancestry would produce a higher number. Historical reasons, including slavery creating a racial caste and the European-American suppression of Native Americans, often led people to identify or be classified by only one ethnicity, generally that of the culture in which they were raised. Prior to the mid-20th century, many people hid their multiracial heritage because of racial discrimination against minorities. While many Americans may be biologically multiracial, they often do not know it or do not identify so culturally, any more than they maintain all the differing traditions of a variety of national ancestries.After a lengthy period of formal racial segregation in the former Confederacy following the Reconstruction Era and bans on interracial marriage in various parts of the country, more people are openly forming interracial unions. In addition, social conditions have changed and many multiracial people do not believe it is socially advantageous to try to "pass" as white. Diverse immigration has brought more mixed race people into the United States, such as a significant population of Hispanics identifying as mestizos. Since the 1980s, the United States has had a growing multiracial identity movement (cf. Loving Day). Because more Americans have insisted on being allowed to acknowledge their mixed racial origins, the 2000 census for the first time allowed residents to check more than one ethno-racial identity and thereby identify as multiracial. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the first biracial President of the United States; he acknowledges both sides of his family and identifies as African-American.Today, multiracial individuals are found in every corner of the country. Multiracial groups in the United States include many African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Métis Americans, Louisiana Creoles, Hapas, Melungeons, Lumbees, Houmas and several other communities found primarily in the Eastern US. Many Native Americans are multiracial in ancestry while identifying fully as members of federally recognized tribes.


The Métis () are members of ethnic groups native to Canada and parts of the United States that trace their descent to both indigenous North Americans and European settlers. Originally the term applied to French-speaking mixed-race families, especially in the Red River area of what became Manitoba, Canada; in the late 19th century in Canada, those of mixed English descent were classified separately as Mixed Bloods.Since the late 20th century, the Métis in Canada have been recognized as a distinct aboriginal people under the Constitution Act of 1982; they number 451,795 as of 2011. Smaller communities identifying as Métis exist in the U.S.


Pardo is a term used in the Portuguese and Spanish colonies in the Americas to refer to the multiracial descendants of Europeans, Indigenous Americans, South Asians, and West Africans. They are defined as neither exclusively mestizo (Indigenous American-European descent), nor mulatto (West African-European descent), nor zambo (Indigenous American-West African descent).In Brazil, the word pardo has had a general meaning, since the beginning of the colonization. In the famous letter by Pero Vaz de Caminha, for example, in which Brazil was first described by the Portuguese, the Indigenous Americans were called "pardo": "Pardo, naked, without clothing". The word has ever since been used to cover African/European mixes, South Asian/European mixes, Amerindian/European/South Asian/African mixes and Indigenous Americans themselves.For example, Diogo de Vasconcelos, a widely known historian from Minas Gerais, mentions the story of Andresa de Castilhos. According to 18th-century accounts, Andresa de Castilhos was described by the following: "I declare that Andresa de Castilhos, parda woman ... has been freed ... is a descendant of the native gentiles of the land ... I declare that Andresa de Castilhos is the daughter of a white man and a (Christian) neophyte (Indigenous) woman".The historian Maria Leônia Chaves de Resende says that the word pardo was used to classify people with partial or full Amerindian ancestry. A Manoel, natural son of Ana carijó, was baptised as 'pardo'; in Campanha several Indigenous Americans were classified as 'pardo'; the Amerindian João Ferreira, Joana Rodriges and Andreza Pedrosa, for example, were described as 'freed pardo'; a Damaso identifies as a 'freed pardo' of the 'native of the land'; etc. According to Chaves de Resende, the growth of the pardo population in Brazil includes the descendants of Amerindian and not only those of African descent: "the growth of the 'pardo' segment had not only to do with the descendants of Africans, but also with the descendants of the Amerindian, in particular the carijós and bastards, included in the condition of 'pardo'".The American historian Muriel Nazzari in 2001 noted that the "pardo" category has absorbed those persons of Amerindian descent in the records of São Paulo: "This paper seeks to demonstrate that, though many Indians and mestizos did migrate, those who remained in São Paulo came to be classified as pardos."


Zambo (Spanish: [ˈθambo] or [ˈsambo]) and cafuzo (Portuguese: [kɐˈfuzu]) are racial terms used in the Casta caste class system of the Spanish and Portuguese empires and occasionally today to identify individuals in the Americas who are of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry (the analogous English term, sambo, is considered a slur). Historically, the racial cross between enslaved African and Amerindians was referred to as a zambayga, then zambo, then sambo. In the United States, the word sambo is thought to refer to the racial cross between an enslaved African and a white person.

The meaning of the term sambo however is contested in North America, where other etymologies have been proposed. The word most likely originated from one of the Romance languages, or Latin and its direct descendants. The feminine word is zamba (not to be confused with the Argentine Zamba folk dance, although there is some relationship in the concept).

Under the casta system of Spanish colonial America, the term originally applied to the children of one African and one Amerindian parent, or the children of two zambo parents. During this period, many other terms denoted individuals of African-Amerindian ancestry in ratios smaller or greater than the 50:50 of zambos: cambujo (zambo-Amerindian mixture) for example. Today, zambo refers to all people with significant amounts of both African and Amerindian ancestry, though it is frequently considered pejorative.

Multiracial topics
See also

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