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Mixed marriages continue rising in Oklahoma

Experts say the state's American Indian population is behind the surge in interracial marriage statistics in Oklahoma.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: April 27, 2012
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Steve Barker, program manager for the Oklahoma Data Center and senior research analyst for Oklahoma Department of Commerce, said the figures can be explained by the state's high American Indian population.

More than 321,000 Oklahomans checked the “American Indian and Alaska Native” box on the 2010 census form, comprising nearly 105,000 households.

“Diversity isn't necessarily the issue,” Barker said. “Other communities are more diverse than we are with regard to some of the other races that are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, but we do have a large number of Native Americans here within the state of Oklahoma, and they have married partners who may or may not identify themselves as Native Americans on census forms.”