Mapping Multiplicity and Inconsistency in Racial/Ethnic Identification in Add Health

Jiannbin Shiao , University of Oregon

Sociologists who rely on survey research have begun exploring the implications of racial inconsistency for not only multiracial identification but also other social outcomes. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), the author explores the consequences of different specifications of race for modeling three outcomes: educational attainment, self-rated health, and interracial-relationship history. The author uses the model-fit criteria of AIC and BIC to compare five methods of classifying multiple, changed, and other-race (MCO) respondents and of operationalizing heterogeneity among them. The results show substantial variation across outcomes in the specifications preferred and indications of a qualitative difference in the meaning of race for social contact versus for social stratification. The article concludes with recommendations for how quantitative researchers should measure race even when the categories primarily serve as covariates.

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 Presented in Session 23. Racial/Ethnic Identity