This research has been supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD47289). An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Boston. Direct correspondence to Anthony Daniel Perez at email@example.com or Charles Hirschman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESTIMATING NET INTERRACIAL MOBILITY IN THE UNITED STATES: A RESIDUAL METHODS APPROACH
Version of Record online: 14 AUG 2009
© 2009 by American Sociological Association
Volume 39, Issue 1, pages 31–71, August 2009
How to Cite
Perez, A. D. and Hirschman, C. (2009), ESTIMATING NET INTERRACIAL MOBILITY IN THE UNITED STATES: A RESIDUAL METHODS APPROACH. Sociological Methodology, 39: 31–71. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9531.2009.01220.x
- Issue online: 20 AUG 2009
- Version of Record online: 14 AUG 2009
This paper presents a residual methods approach to identifying social mobility across race/ethnic categories. In traditional demographic accounting models, population growth is limited to changes in natural increase and migration. Other sources of population change are absorbed by the model residual and can be estimated only indirectly. While these residual estimates have been used to illuminate a number of elusive demographic processes, there has been little effort to incorporate shifts in racial identification into formal accounts of population change. In light of growing evidence that a number of Americans view race/ethnic identities as a personal choice, not as a fixed characteristic, mobility across racial categories may play important roles in the growth of race/ethnic subpopulations and changes to the composition of the United States. To examine this potential, we derive a reduced-form population balancing equation that treats fertility and international migration as given and estimates survival from period life table data. After subtracting out national increase and net international migration and adjusting for changes in racial measurement and census coverage, we argue that the remaining error of closure provides a reasonable estimate of net interracial mobility among the native born. Using recent U.S. Census and ACS microdata, we illustrate the impact that identity shifts may have had on the growth of race/ethnic subpopulations in the past quarter century. Findings suggest a small drift from the non-Hispanic white population into race/ethnic minority groups, though the pattern varies by age and between time periods.