Measuring “Context” When Studying Racial Identity and Family Decisions Among Mixed-Heritage People in the United States

Carolyn A. Liebler , University of Minnesota
Christopher Levesque, University of Minnesota
Miri Song, University of Kent

How does a person’s race and ancestry responses link to their choice of spouse and the racial identification of their children? Does the answer to this question vary by context? Does it vary across different mixed-heritage groups? We focus here on comparing various measures of “context” and how each measure speaks to individuals’ self-identification, spouse choice, and child identification. We use the race and ancestry questions within Census data from 1980, 1990, 2000, and the American Community Survey to focus on mixed heritage American Indian/White, Asian/White, and Black/White individuals. We start with “context” as the shared history and culture of contiguous areas and show variation patterns in responses by census division. We then show the same statistics based on a “context” measure that takes into account county population composition (e.g., race and ethnicity, living arrangements, % in poverty), population density, and county race history.

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 Presented in Session 56. Racial Inequality in the United States