Validity of Infant Race/Ethnicity from Birth Certificates in the Context of U.S. Demographic Change
Article first published online: 5 JUL 2013
© Health Research and Educational Trust
Health Services Research
Volume 49, Issue 1, pages 249–267, February 2014
How to Cite
Mason, L. R., Nam, Y. and Kim, Y. (2014), Validity of Infant Race/Ethnicity from Birth Certificates in the Context of U.S. Demographic Change. Health Services Research, 49: 249–267. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12083
- Issue published online: 17 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 5 JUL 2013
- Oklahoma State Department of Health
- RTI International
- Center for Social Development
- Vital statistics;
- racial/ethnic differences in health and health care;
- infant health;
- survey research and questionnaire design
To compare infant race/ethnicity based on birth certificates with parent report of infant race/ethnicity in a survey.
The 2007 Oklahoma birth certificates and SEED for Oklahoma Kids baseline survey.
Using sensitivity scores and positive predictive values, we examined consistency of infant race/ethnicity across two data sources (N = 2,663).
Data Collection/Extraction Methods
We compared conventional measures of infant race/ethnicity from birth certificate and survey data. We also tested alternative measures that allow biracial classification, determined from parental information on the infant's birth certificate or parental survey report.
Sensitivity of conventional measures is highest for whites and African Americans and lowest for Hispanics; positive predictive value is highest for Hispanics and African Americans and lowest for American Indians. Alternative measures improve values among whites but yield mostly low values among minority and biracial groups.
Health disparities research should consider the source and validity of infant race/ethnicity data when creating sampling frames or designing studies that target infants by race/ethnicity. The common practice of assigning the maternal race/ethnicity as infant race/ethnicity should continue to be challenged.