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(Article) Who Chooses to Choose

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    Who Chooses to Choose two? by Sonya M. Tafoya, Hans Johnson, and Laura E. Hill The following excerpt is from the report Who Chooses to Choose Two? Multiracial
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 20, 2010
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      Who Chooses to Choose two?

      by Sonya M. Tafoya, Hans Johnson, and Laura E. Hill

      The following excerpt is from the report "Who Chooses to 
      Choose Two? Multiracial Identification and Census 2000," 
      by Sonya M. Tafoya, Hans Johnson, and Laura E. Hill, and published by 
      the Russell Sage Foundation and the Population Reference Bure

      This report is one of several in the new series The American People, 
      which sets the results of Census 2000 in context and collectively 
      provides a portrait of the American people in a new century. 

      (June 2004) Racial identity in the United States 
      is first established within the context of families. 
      In the census, parents report the 
      "racial" 'identity' of their children. 

      To what extent do parents of different races 
      identify their children as Multi-Racial? 
      Do patterns of Multi-Racial reporting depend 
      on the specific race of each parent? 

      In the most common intermarriage case where one parent 
      is 'White' and one is 'non-White', does reporting depend on 
      whether it is the mother or the father who is 'non-White?

      One of the most striking results of the 2000 Census is that most 
      Inter-Racial couples do not report their children as Multi-Racial. 

      Overall, we estimated that less than half (44 percent) of children 
      living with parents of different races are identified as Multi-Racial. 

      The proportions are especially low for two of the
      largest [interracial] groups, with only 13 percent
      of American Indian/White couples and only 3
      percent of Latino SOR**/White couples identifying
      their children as [mixed-race] (see Table 1). 


      **SOR denotes "Some Other Race." 
      ~~ AIAN denotes "American Indian / Alaskan Native"
      ^^ A slash-mark "</>" denotes the racial identification of married couples. 
      For example, a couple in which one partner is Black and the 
      other partner is Asian is described as a Black/Asian couple.)

       Table 1

      Children Identified 
      as Multi-Racial, by 
      Parent's Race, 2000

      Parent's race


      Black / White 


      AIAN ~~/ White 


      Asian / White 


      Hispanic / White 


      Both parents 


      Predicted percentages based 
      on author's regression models.

      Author's calculations using 
      Census 2000 1 % Public Use 
      Microdata Sample (PUMS).

           The likelihood of reporting a child 
           as Multi-Racial depends very 
           much on the specific "racial" 
           combination of the parents.

           Children of Asian/White and
           Black / White interracial couples
           are far more likely to report
           their child as Multi-Racial 
           than American-Indian / White,
           non-Latino SOR** / White, and
           Latino SOR** / White parents. 

           However, even among Asian/White and 
           Black/White couples, only about half 
           report their children as Multi-Racial. 

           Among Black/White couples, most 
           who do not report their children as 
           Multi-Racial report them as "black". 

           Among Asian/White and
           Latino SOR** / White couples,
           most who do not report their children
           as Multi-Racial report them as White. 
           American-Indian/White couples 
           are about evenly divided between 
           reporting their children as only 
           American-Indian or only-White. 

      Just as the levels of Multi-Racial reporting
      vary between the racial combinations of the
      parents, we believe that the reasons for
      Multi-Racial reporting are particular to
      each combination of [interracial] parents.

      The very low levels of Multi-Racial reporting among 
      American-Indian / White couples may be due to the
      nature of the American-Indian population in the United States. 

      That population includes a large number of people of Mixed-Ancestry 
      with varying degrees of strength in an AIAN~~ identity.1 

      Those who strongly identify as American-Indian 
      are likely to report their children as Mono-Racial 
      American-Indian, even if one parent is White. 

      Most American-Indian tribes allow as members individuals 
      who have only one "full-blooded" grandparent.2 

      Thus, an AIAN~~ parent who has strong ancestral 
      connections to a tribe is likely to report his or her 
      child as American-Indian regardless of spouse ethnicity. 

      Those who do not strongly identify as AIAN~~, an apparently large and 
      perhaps growing share of the AIAN~~ population in the United States, 
      and who have a child with a White spouse, report the child as White.

      The low levels of Multi-Racial reporting among Latino 
      [Interracial] SOR**/White couples can be attributed to the
      prominence of Latino ' identity' rather than "racial" 'identity'. 

      For many Latinos, the "racial" categories 
      on the census are 'not meaningful'. 

      Large proportions of Latinos respond that they are SOR**, and 
      even slightly larger proportions respond that they are White. 

      A large majority of Latinos would prefer to have 
      "Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin" added to 
      the list of "racial" categories used in the census.3 

      For many Latinos, the choice between 
      SOR** and White is somewhat 'arbitrary'. 

      Choosing both 'identities' for their children would be 
      superfluous, since the Latino 'identity' is most salient.

      Couples most likely to identify their 
      children as Multi-Racial are those in 
      which both parents are Multi-Racial: 
      83 percent of such couples report their 
      children to be more than one "race"...
      their children represent a substantial
      share of all Multi-Racial children.

      Indeed, 25 percent of Multi-Racial children 
      in the United States have parents that
      both identify as Multi-Racial ... 

      Even having only one Multi-Racial parent 
      leads to a relatively high probability of a 
      child being identified as Multi-Racial. 

      Altogether, over half of Multi-Racial children 
      have at least one Multi-Racial parent.


      1. Matthew Snipp, "American Indians: Clues to the Future of Other 
        Racial Groups," in 
        The New Race Question: How the Census 
        Counts Multiracial Individuals
        , ed. Joel Perlmann and Mary 
        C. Waters (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002).
      2. Russell Thornton, "Tribal Membership Requirements 
        and the Demography of Old and New Native Americans," 
        in Changing Numbers, Changing Needs, ed. Gary D. 
        Sandefur, Ronald R. Rindfuss, and Barney Cohen 
        (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1996).
      3. Clyde R. Tucker et al., Testing Methods of Collecting 
        Racial and Ethnic Information: Results of the Current 
        Population Survey Supplement on Race and 
        Ethnicity," Statistical Notes, no. 40 (1996).

      Copyright 2006, Population Reference Bureau. All rights reserved.

      SOURCE: http://www.prb.org/Template.cfm?Section=PRB&template=/Content/ContentGrups/04_Articles/Who_Chooses_to_Choose_Two_.htm

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