René D. Flores, "Ethnic Attrition in the U.S.: Prevalence, Determinants, and Consequences"

Blumer Room - 402 Social Sciences Building

Past research shows that there is significant ethnic attrition among some ethnic groups in the U.S. Some descendants of Hispanics and Asians do not identify with the same ethnic label as their ancestors. This attrition could impact estimates of intergroup inequality if attriters differ from non-attriters. Past studies on ethnic attrition have mostly relied on parental country of birth to establish ancestry due to data constraints. Nevertheless, this approach could miss individuals whose families have been in the U.S. for several generations. We develop three different ways to measure ancestry in surveys, considering parental country of birth, grandparents' country of birth, and overall family roots. We incorporate these new measures into a nationally-representative survey, along with a comprehensive list of social, psychological, political, and economic variables, to analyze the characteristics of ethnic attritors. We find that the size and characteristics of the attriter population vary based on how ancestry is measured, significantly impacting the level of socioeconomic inequality between Asians/Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks.