The Ethnic Responses of Whites: What Causes Their Instability, Simplification, and Inconsistency?

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The Ethnic Responses of Whites: What Causes Their Instability, Simplification, and Inconsistency?

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Title: The Ethnic Responses of Whites: What Causes Their Instability, Simplification, and Inconsistency?
Author: Lieberson, Stanley; Waters, Mary

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Lieberson, Stanley, and Mary C. Waters. 1993. The ethnic responses of whites: What causes their instability, simplification, and inconsistency?. Social Forces 72(2): 421-450.
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Abstract: This article analyzes some inconsistent or puzzling observations in the data derived from the new approach to measuring ethnicity first used in the 1980 census. These puzzles include the simplification of children's origins by parents who each have a different single ethnic origin, inconsistencies in the ethnic origins that parents ascribe to their children, and changes in the pattern of ancestry responses across the life span of individuals. Through careful analysis of the pattern of reporting of ethnic ancestry, we explore whether these puzzles are due to technical inadequacies of census design or to true substantive changes in the conceptualization of ethnic origin among whites in the U.S. For those changes we determine to be primarily substantive, we explore the social forces shaping the observed changes and some of the consequences of these changes for the size and composition of ethnic ancestry groups in the U.S. We also outline the implications of some of these changes for future empirical research and theorizing on ethnicity.
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2579855
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3203276
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