New Directions



Biracial families are formed and develop in many of the same ways as other families. Two people develop a mutual affection, establish a partnership, and choose to be parents. They may marry or not, stay married or not, live together or not; they may adopt or have biological children. They experience the same developmental stages and life trajectories as any other individuals do. Yet, biracial families have the added challenge of crossing racial boundaries and blurring color lines in ways that many people are afraid to do. Although formal legal barriers have been rescinded, societal discord and racial inequities remain; thus, cross-race relationships are more complex than same-race relationships. The layers of complexity can be viewed as opportunities for growth and can lead us into a more comprehensive understanding of race, prejudice, and bias. These same layers of complexity can become a heavy burden, consuming energy and ruffling resolve to blaze an important path forward. One cannot comprehend the experience of biracial families without interrogating the layers of intersections that yield complex, contradictory, and complementary relationships. Intersectionality has been, and will always be, the only way to describe and understand the experiences of biracial families and individuals. Evaluating intersections (e.g., of race and class, colorism and bias, exposure, and ideology) is necessary to gain a more nuanced understanding of how and why individuals partner across race; how they create family and think about parenting biracial children; how they choose to identify themselves, their family, and their children; and how identity impacts (among other things) the health and well-being of biracial people.


Biracial families Biracial individuals Cross-race relationships Intersectionality Identity development Racial/ethnic identity Racial categories Biracial youth Passing Self-identification Minority label Biracial label Minority status 


  1. Pew Research Center. (2015a). Multiracial in America: Proud, diverse and growing in numbers. Retrieved from
  2. Pew Research Center. (2015b). Parenting in America: Outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation. Retrieved from
  3. Pew Research Center. (2017). The rise of multiracial and multiethnic babies in the U.S. Retrieved from
  4. Rollins, A. & Hunter, A. G. (2008, November). Deconstructing race: Biracial adolescents’ fluid racial self-labels. Poster presented at the annual conference of the National Council on Family relations, Little Rock, AR.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Child and Family Development ProgramSchool of Human Services, Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, University of Central MissouriWarrensburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Consumer SciencesCalifornia State University Long BeachLong BeachUSA

Personalised recommendations