Demography

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 141–172 | Cite as

Genetic Bio-Ancestry and Social Construction of Racial Classification in Social Surveys in the Contemporary United States

  • Guang Guo
  • Yilan Fu
  • Hedwig Lee
  • Tianji Cai
  • Kathleen Mullan Harris
  • Yi Li
Article

Abstract

Self-reported race is generally considered the basis for racial classification in social surveys, including the U.S. census. Drawing on recent advances in human molecular genetics and social science perspectives of socially constructed race, our study takes into account both genetic bio-ancestry and social context in understanding racial classification. This article accomplishes two objectives. First, our research establishes geographic genetic bio-ancestry as a component of racial classification. Second, it shows how social forces trump biology in racial classification and/or how social context interacts with bio-ancestry in shaping racial classification. The findings were replicated in two racially and ethnically diverse data sets: the College Roommate Study (N = 2,065) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 2,281).

Keywords

Race Racial classification Genetics Bio-ancestry 

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guang Guo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yilan Fu
    • 1
  • Hedwig Lee
    • 3
  • Tianji Cai
    • 4
  • Kathleen Mullan Harris
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yi Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Carolina Center for Genome SciencesUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of SociologyUniversity of MacauTaipaMacau

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