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Trends in births to parents of two different races in the United States: 1971-1995



Trends in births to parents of two different races in the United States: 1971-1995



Ethnicity & Disease 11(2): 273-285



Purpose: In 1997, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) introduced revised standards for classification of federal data on race. The new standards include the option to report more than one race. Reasons for the new standards include a change over time in childbearing patterns by race. Objective: To better understand how the new standards could impact different racial groups, we examined trends in interracial births in the United States from 1971-1995. Design: Birth certificate data were used to analyze over 36,000,000 US births from 1971-1995. Race of mother and race of father were divided into four categories (Black, White, American Indian, and Asian or Pacific-Islander), and four Asian or Pacific-Islander subcategories (Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, Filipino). The national percent of interracial births was calculated by race of parents for five-year intervals. Results: The percent of interracial births in the United States more than tripled from the 1971-1975 period to the 1991-1995 period, but remained relatively small overall (3.9% in 1991-95). The percent of interracial births increased most dramatically among Black (from 0.8% to 4.0%) and White (0.8% to 2.6%) mothers, but these births were much more common among American Indian and Asian or Pacific-Islander (47% and 22% in 1991-1995, respectively) mothers. Nearly half (45%) of all interracial births occurred to White-Black parents, followed by White-Asian or Pacific-Islander parents (33%). Conclusion: Future statistical reporting of demographic and health characteristics by race of American Indian and Asian or Pacific-Islander populations could be impacted the most by the new OMB standards. For Whites and Blacks, the impact of multiracial reporting will be smaller, but is likely to increase.

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Accession: 011594396

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PMID: 11456002



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