Patterns of Identification: The Children of Latino/Non-Latino White Families
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This thesis examines the various factors that influence how children in Latino/non-Latino white households are racially and ethnically identified. The question of multiracial/ethnic identity has come to prominence following the changes made to the U.S. Census questionnaire beginning with the 2000 survey which allows the option of more than one racial identifier. However, little research has focused a group which must still grapple with the complications of identification, namely Latino/non-Latino families. Latino identity is considered to be an ethnic identification rather than a racial identification, with ethnic identification still allowing only one option on the census survey. Thus, these families still must struggle with the decision as to how to identify their children. In this study, I use the 2005-2007 3-year sample of the American Community Survey to examine how various family dynamics and contextual factors can help to explain what drives the decisions of parents on how to racially and ethnically identify their children. Specifically, I use both multinomial logistic regression and multilevel binomial logistic regression to predict the outcome of the child either being identified as Latino (white or other) or non-Latino (white or other). These models incorporate characteristics of the Latino parent and the non-Latino parent as well as the ethnic composition of the area in which the family lives. The findings of this study indicate that certain characteristics of the Latino parent are most influential in determining how the child is identified. The language that the Latino parent speaks in the home, the nativity status of the Latino parent, and the ethnic origin group of the Latino parent are all important factors which influence the decision behind how to identify the children in the family. If the Latino parent speaks Spanish in the home, is Mexican in comparison to other Latino groups, and is U.S.-born, the child is more likely to be identified as Latino. However, influencing factors behind multiracial/ethnic identity go beyond the household. The percent Latino in the area in which the family lives also leads to a Latino identification for the child.