Ethnic identification for children of Hispanic intermarriage: Ethnic leakage?

Date
2010
Authors
Perez, Deborah
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Abstract

Ethnic identification of children by a parent is a frequent and important decision made when completing questionnaires which require demographic data. Mixed children, those with parents of different ethnic group membership, are a source of important statistical idiosyncrasies in data collection and population distributions. In this paper I examine the dynamics surrounding an intermarried, Hispanic parents' ethnic identification of a mixed child.

The data for this study is from the 5-percent Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) of the 2000 United States (U.S.) Census. This research includes only intermarried couples where one parent is a Hispanic and the other parent is a non-Hispanic. Logistic regressions are used to predict the likelihood that mixed ethnicity children are reported as non-Hispanic. Ethnicity of the daughter and son is measured as dichotomous, as either Hispanic or non-Hispanic. Demographic and socio-economic parental characteristics are used to test hypotheses for the likelihood of non-Hispanic identification of a multi-ethnic child.

The results of this study demonstrate that choices of ethnic identification for Hispanic or Non-Hispanic children are increasingly optional and can be predicted based on a number of important parent attributes including, parental U.S. citizenship and the ability to speak English, for both daughters and sons. The predictive characteristics result in differences for sons and daughters. In sum, demographic change is not only a consequence of births, deaths, and immigration but also a consequence of optional Hispanic ethnic identification selection for children of intermarriage.

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Keywords
Ethnic, Hispanic, Intermarriage, Mixed Children
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Department
Demography