Will “Multiracial” Survive to the Next Generation? The Racial Classification of Children of Multiracial Parents

Jenifer Bratter, Rice University

This paper explores how likely multiple-race classification, and thus multiracial identity, will be transmitted from parents to children. Using 5% PUMS file of the 2000 U.S. Census, I examine the likelihood of a multiracial identity for children in “traditional” interracial families (two single-race parents) compared to families where at least one parent is multiracial. The pooled analyses show that multiracial classification is most likely when two multiple-race parents are present. I then stratified the sample among households where one parent is White, Black, or Asian. In general, presence of a multiracial parent increases the likelihood of multiracial classification when the multiracial parent does not “share” a race with their single-race spouse, but this tendency varies depending on the racial composition of the household. Overall, the results suggest that multiracial identity may be passed on to the next generation but mostly in contexts of heightened racial difference.

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Presented in Session 24: Challenges of Multiracial Measurement