The meaning and measurement of race in the U.S. census: Glimpses into the future

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-01-09 05:30Z by Steven

The meaning and measurement of race in the U.S. census: Glimpses into the future

Demography
Volume 37, Number 3 (August 2000)
pages 381-393
DOI: 10.2307/2648049

Charles Hirschman, Boeing International Professor of Sociology and Professor of Public Affaris
University of Washington

Richard Alba, Distinguished Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology
Co-Director of The Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities
State University of New York, Albany

Reynolds Farley, Research Professor Emeritus
University of Michigan
Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research

The 1996 Racial and Ethnic Targeted Test (RAETT) was a “mail-out mail-back” household survey with an experimental design of eight alternative questionnaire formats containing systematic variations in race, instructions, question order, and other aspects of the measurement. The eight different questionnaires were administered to random subsamples of six “targeted” populations: geographic areas with ethnic concentrations of whites, blacks, American Indians, Alaskan natives, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics. The major conclusion is that allowing multiple responses to the “race” question in the 2000 census (and other variations in measurement that were considered in RAETT) had only a slight impact on the measured racial composition of the population. Another finding was a dramatic reduction in nonresponse to the combined race/Hispanic-origin question relative to all other questionnaire formats. We conclude that the concept of “origins” may be closer to the popular understanding of American diversity than is the antiquated concept of race.

Read the entire article here.

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Identifying with Multiple Races: A Social Movement that Succeeded but Failed?

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-03-21 02:59Z by Steven

Identifying with Multiple Races: A Social Movement that Succeeded but Failed?

PSC Research Report (Report No. 01-491)
The Population Studies Center (PSC) at the University of Michigan
2004
33 pages

Reynolds Farley, Research Professor Emeritus
University of Michigan
Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research

Prior to the 1960s, civil rights organizations sought to minimize the collecting of racial information since such data were often employed to deny opportunities to minorities. By 1970, federal agencies and courts frequently used racial information to enforce civil rights laws by ensuring the minorities were appropriately represented in jobs or in schools and that equitable electoral districts were drawn. In the 1970s, advocacy groups struggled over racial definitions. In 1977, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defined official races and mandated the gathering of data about them. A decade later a small but highly effective multiracial movement emerged. They contended that many Americans come from several racial backgrounds and should be permitted to identify with a multiracial category. OMB, in 1997, altered the federal regulations, recognized five major races and gave everyone the option to identify with as many races as the wish.

The Census of 2000 adopted the principle that persons could identify with more than one race. About 2.4 percent–or one in 40–did so. Approximately one-third of these were multiracial because they wrote a Spanish-term for their second race. That is, 1.6 percent of the population or 4.5 million marked two or more of the five major races defined by OMB. White/Other, and White/Indian were the only multiracial groups marked by one million or more.

These innovative multiracial data have not provoked litigation nor bitter controversies as legislatures analyzed census information to reapportion electoral districts. Before to the enumeration, advocacy groups strongly endorsed the use of a multiracial category but they have not highlighted this issue now that data are becoming available from the Census. The multiracial movement succeeded in fundamentally changing the way the government collects racial data but, thus far, there are no great changes in outcomes nor are there prominent pending lawsuit focused on the rights of multiracial.

Read the entire report here.

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Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2011-01-30 04:36Z by Steven

Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above

The New York Times
2011-01-29

Susan Saulny, National Correspondent

Race Remixed: A New Sense of Identity. Articles in this series will explore the growing number of mixed-race Americans.

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—In another time or place, the game of “What Are You?” that was played one night last fall at the University of Maryland might have been mean, or menacing: Laura Wood’s peers were picking apart her every feature in an effort to guess her race.

“How many mixtures do you have?” one young man asked above the chatter of about 50 students. With her tan skin and curly brown hair, Ms. Wood’s ancestry could have spanned the globe.

“I’m mixed with two things,” she said politely.

“Are you mulatto?” asked Paul Skym, another student, using a word once tinged with shame that is enjoying a comeback in some young circles. When Ms. Wood confirmed that she is indeed black and white, Mr. Skym, who is Asian and white, boasted, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” in affirmation of their mutual mixed lineage.

Then the group of friends—formally, the Multiracial and Biracial Student Association—erupted into laughter and cheers, a routine show of their mixed-race pride.

The crop of students moving through college right now includes the largest group of mixed-race people ever to come of age in the United States, and they are only the vanguard: the country is in the midst of a demographic shift driven by immigration and intermarriage…

…No one knows quite how the growth of the multiracial population will change the country. Optimists say the blending of the races is a step toward transcending race, to a place where America is free of bigotry, prejudice and programs like affirmative action.

Pessimists say that a more powerful multiracial movement will lead to more stratification and come at the expense of the number and influence of other minority groups, particularly African-Americans.

And some sociologists say that grouping all multiracial people together glosses over differences in circumstances between someone who is, say, black and Latino, and someone who is Asian and white. (Among interracial couples, white-Asian pairings tend to be better educated and have higher incomes, according to Reynolds Farley, a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan.)

Along those lines, it is telling that the rates of intermarriage are lowest between blacks and whites, indicative of the enduring economic and social distance between them.

Prof. Rainier Spencer, director of the Afro-American Studies Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the author of “Reproducing Race: The Paradox of Generation Mix,” says he believes that there is too much “emotional investment” in the notion of multiracialism as a panacea for the nation’s age-old divisions. “The mixed-race identity is not a transcendence of race, it’s a new tribe,” he said. “A new Balkanization of race.”…

…The Way We Were

Americans mostly think of themselves in singular racial terms. Witness President Obama’s answer to the race question on the 2010 census: Although his mother was white and his father was black, Mr. Obama checked only one box, black, even though he could have checked both races.

Some proportion of the country’s population has been mixed-race since the first white settlers had children with Native Americans. What has changed is how mixed-race Americans are defined and counted…

Read the entire article here.

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New Challenges in Measuring Race in the United States

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2011-01-12 20:42Z by Steven

New Challenges in Measuring Race in the United States

2010 National Conference on Health Statistics
Omni Shorem Hotel, Washington, D.C.
2010-08-17
46 pages/slides

Reynolds Farley, Research Professor Emeritus
University of Michigan
Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research

The Multiracial Movement of the 1990s [page/slide 2]

  • After Census 1990, a small social movement developed calling for a fundamental change in the way the federal statistical system classified people by race. Susan Graham played an important role in this.
  • Rather than forcing persons to identify with one single race only, they insisted upon the addition of a “Multiple Races” category.
  • Some leading advocates of this change were white women married to African-American men who found that their children were almost always classified as black by those who collected statistical data or tabulated persons by race. See: Kim M. Williams, Mark One or More Civil Rights in Multiracial America

Who Identifies with Multiple Races? [page/slide 9]

  • Age differences are great. In 2008, 5% of those under 10 were identified with two or more races; fewer than 1% for those over age 64 did so.
  • Race differences are substantial. In 2008, 52% of the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population identified with a second race; 45% of American Indians did so. For whites, it was only 3%
  • Educational Attainment differences in identifying with multiple races were small.
  • Geographic Differences in Identifying with Two or More Races are Large. In 2008, 21% of the residents of Honolulu and 10% in Anchorage identified with 2 or more races. In Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, Portland, Maine and Sarasota, Florida; fewer than 1% identified with 2 or more races.

Measuring Race Will Be Increasingly Challenging [page/slide 26]

  • A substantial increase in interracial marriages implies that the multiple race population is growing rapidly
  • There is widespread consensus that race is a social construct. Perhaps, many people wish to construct their own racial identity.
  • Question order and question wording effects are very large

Read the entire presentation here.

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The New Race Question: How the Census Counts Multiracial Individuals

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2009-10-22 20:55Z by Steven

The New Race Question: How the Census Counts Multiracial Individuals

Russell Sage Foundation
October 2002
391 pages
Hardcover: ISBN-13: 978-0-87154-657-9, ISBN-10: 0-87154-657-4
Paperback: ISBN-13: 978-0-87154-658-6, ISBN-10: 0-87154-658-2

Edited by

Joel Perlmann, Senior Scholar and Program Director
Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

Mary C. Waters, M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology
Harvard University

The change in the way the federal government asked for information about race in the 2000 census marked an important turning point in the way Americans measure race. By allowing respondents to choose more than one racial category for the first time, the Census Bureau challenged strongly held beliefs about the nature and definition of race in our society. The New Race Question is a wide-ranging examination of what we know about racial enumeration, the likely effects of the census change, and possible policy implications for the future.

The growing incidence of interracial marriage and childrearing led to the change in the census race question. Yet this reality conflicts with the need for clear racial categories required by anti-discrimination and voting rights laws and affirmative action policies. How will racial combinations be aggregated under the Census’s new race question? Who will decide how a respondent who lists more than one race will be counted? How will the change affect established policies for documenting and redressing discrimination? The New Race Question opens with an exploration of what the attempt to count multiracials has shown in previous censuses and other large surveys. Contributor Reynolds Farley reviews the way in which the census has traditionally measured race, and shows that although the numbers of people choosing more than one race are not high at the national level, they can make a real difference in population totals at the county level. The book then takes up the debate over how the change in measurement will affect national policy in areas that rely on race counts, especially in civil rights law, but also in health, education, and income reporting. How do we relate data on poverty, graduation rates, and disease collected in 2000 to the rates calculated under the old race question? A technical appendix provides a useful manual for bridging old census data to new.

The book concludes with a discussion of the politics of racial enumeration. Hugh Davis Graham examines recent history to ask why some groups were determined to be worthy of special government protections and programs, while others were not. Posing the volume’s ultimate question, Jennifer Hochschild asks whether the official recognition of multiracials marks the beginning of the end of federal use of race data, and whether that is a good or a bad thing for society?

The New Race Question brings to light the many ways in which a seemingly small change in surveying and categorizing race can have far reaching effects and expose deep fissures in our society.

Copublished with the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.

Read the entire first chapter here.

Table of Contents

Contributors
Acknowledgment
Introduction
PART I WHAT DO WE KNOW FROM COUNTING MULTIRACIALS?

  1. RACIAL IDENTITIES IN 2000: THE RESPONSE TO THE MULTIPLE-RACE RESPONSE OPTION — Reynolds Farley
  2. DOES IT MATTER HOW WE MEASURE? RACIAL CLASSIFICATION AND THE CHARACTERISTICS OF MULTIRACIAL YOUTH — David R. Harris
  3. MIXED RACE AND ETHNICITY IN CALIFORNIA — Sonya M. Tafoya
  4. PART II HOW MUCH WILL IT MATTER?

  5. BACK IN THE BOX: THE DILEMMA OF USING MULTIPLE-RACE DATA FOR SINGLE-RACE LAWS — Joshua R. Goldstein and Ann J. Morning
  6. INADEQUACIES OF MULTIPLE-RESPONSE RACE DATA IN THE FEDERAL STATISTICAL SYSTEM — Roderick J. Harrison
  7. THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF A MULTIRACIAL CENSUS — Nathaniel Persily
  8. PART III A MULTIRACIAL FUTURE?

  9. AMERICAN INDIANS: CLUES TO THE FUTURE OF OTHER RACIAL GROUPS — C. Matthew Snipp
  10. CENSUS BUREAU LONG-TERM RACIAL PROJECTIONS: INTERPRETING THEIR RESULTS AND SEEKING THEIR RATIONALE — Joel Perlmann
  11. RECENT TRENDS IN INTERMARRIAGE AND IMMIGRATION AND THEIR EFFECTS ON THE FUTURE RACIAL COMPOSITION OF THE U.S. POPULATION — Barry Edmonston, Sharon M. Lee, and Jeffrey S. Passel
  12. PART IV THE POLITICS OF RACE NUMBERS

  13. HISTORY, HISTORICITY, AND THE CENSUS COUNT BY RACE — Matthew Frye Jacobson
  14. WHAT RACE ARE YOU? — Werner Sollors
  15. COUNTING BY RACE: THE ANTEBELLUM LEGACY — Margo J. Anderson
  16. THE ORIGINS OF OFFICIAL MINORITY DESIGNATION — Hugh Davis Graham
  17. LESSONS FROM BRAZIL: THE IDEATIONAL AND POLITICAL DIMENSIONS OF MULTIRACIALITY — Melissa Nobles
  18. REFLECTIONS ON RACE, HISPANICITY, AND ANCESTRY IN THE U.S. CENSUS — Nathan Glazer
  19. MULTIRACIALISM AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE — Peter Skerry
  20. MULTIPLE RACIAL IDENTIFIERS IN THE 2000 CENSUS, AND THEN WHAT? — Jennifer L. Hochschild
  21. RACE IN THE 2000 CENSUS: A TURNING POINT — Kenneth Prewitt
  22. Appendix BRIDGING FROM OLD TO NEW

  23. Chapter 19 COMPARING CENSUS RACE DATA UNDER THE OLD AND THE NEW STANDARDS — Clyde Tucker, Steve Miller, and Jennifer Parker

Index

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The Multiple Race Population: Is it Increasing or Decreasing?

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-07 02:08Z by Steven

The Multiple Race Population: Is it Increasing or Decreasing?

Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association
Montreal Convention Center
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2006-08-11

15 pages

Reynolds Farley, Research Professor Emeritus
Population Studies Center and Sociology Department
University of Michigan

A vibrant social movement developed in the 1990s, argued that many Americans had parents from differences races and that the federal statistical system should not classify persons into only one race. They succeeded in effecting the most dramatic change ever to occur in the measurement of race since Office of Management and Budget ruled in 1997 that the census and federal agencies must allow persons to identify with as many races as they wished.

Census 2000 found that one American in 40 identified with two or more races.  Because of increases in interracial marriage, a growth of the multiple race population was anticipated. The Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey asks the race question to a sample of 800,000 households.  The percent identifying with two or more races decreased from 2.4 percent in 2000 to 1.9 percent four years later.

Census Bureau surveys report a substantial change in the racial identity selected by those who identify themselves as Spanish/Hispanic/Latino.  The percent of Hispanics who used a Spanish term for their race increased from 29 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2004. Without doubt Hispanics are increasing using a Spanish term as their racial identity.

Read the entire paper here.

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