The Racial Identification of Puerto Ricans in the U.S.

Nancy A. Denton, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Jacqueline Villarrubia, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

This paper investigates whether and how racial identification of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. is affected by their increasing spatial dispersion across the U.S. While the system of racial identity in Puerto Rico is more flexible than that of the U.S., it is not known whether and how living in different racial contexts in the U.S. affects how Puerto Ricans choose to identify themselves racially. In the 2000 Census, 49% of Puerto Ricans identified their race as white, 8.2% as black, and 42.8% as “other race.” Using data from the 2000 5% PUMS to which metropolitan characteristics have been appended, we use multinomial logit models to examine the racial choices of Puerto Ricans. Preliminary results suggest that Puerto Ricans’ choice of race is indeed affected by the proportion of Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics in the area, as well as the overall racial diversity of the population.

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Presented in Session 99: Race, Ethnicity, Ancestry, and Caste in Demographic Measurement