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Asian American ethnic identification by surname


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.

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Lauderdale, D.S., Kestenbaum, B. Asian American ethnic identification by surname. Population Research and Policy Review 19, 283–300 (2000).

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  • Asian Americans
  • Names
  • Ethnic groups/classification