Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 283–300 | Cite as

Asian American ethnic identification by surname

  • Diane S. Lauderdale
  • Bert Kestenbaum


Few data sources include ethnicity-levelclassification for Asian Americans. However, it isoften more informative to study the ethnic groupsseparately than to use an aggregate Asian Americancategory, because of differences in immigrationhistory, socioeconomic status, health, and culture. Many types of records that include surnames of personsoffer the potential for inferential ethnicclassification. This paper describes the developmentof surname lists for six major Asian American ethnicgroups: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, AsianIndian, and Vietnamese. The lists were based on SocialSecurity Administration records that include countryof birth. After they were compiled, the lists wereevaluated using an independent file of census records.The surname lists have a variety of applications forresearchers: identification of individuals to targetfor study participation; inference of ethnicity indata sources lacking ethnic detail; andcharacterization of the ethnic composition of apopulation.

Asian Americans Names Ethnic groups/classification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane S. Lauderdale
    • 1
  • Bert Kestenbaum
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health StudiesUniversity of ChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Office of The Chief Actuary, Social Security AdministrationUSA

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