On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

How interfaith families meld ideologies

Share story

Interfaith families
Ethan Sommer, right, helps his daughters Kaylee, age 4, left, and Danielle, age 2, center, play with toy bears they received on the first night of Hanukkah Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 at their home in Minnetonka.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

Interfaith marriages are on the rise, adding up to 45 percent of all marriages in the last decade. People are more likely to marry someone of a different faith than someone of a different political persuasion and 80 percent of people 18-23 don't think that religious affiliation has any bearing on the success of a marriage. 

Stephanie Hanes of the Christian Science Monitor recently did a piece on the trend:

"As people come to this country from elsewhere - whether we're Muslim, Jewish, Hindu - we go to the same public schools, we go to the same universities, we're in the same workplaces. And we fall in love and get married," says Susan Katz Miller, a member of IFFP and the author of "Being Both," a book exploring her interfaith world. "[IFFP] provides a community where neither spouse feels excluded."

Indeed, research shows that not only are more Americans marrying people of other religions, but a rapidly growing proportion are remaining interfaith. In other words, not only are people from different religious backgrounds getting married, they are keeping those separate faiths rather than converting. In a paper released earlier this year, David McClendon of the University of Texas at Austin crunched existing survey data and found that the proportion of interfaith marriages that remain with mixed-faith partners had shot up to 40 percent in the early 2000s from 20 percent in the 1960s. (Those couples who do not hold on to their differing faiths tend to take one of three paths: One spouse converts, both pick a new religion together, or they drop religion altogether.)  

On The Daily Circuit, we talk about how families stay together with different ideologies intact.