The Intersection of Race and Ethnicity among Hispanic Adolescents: Self-Identification and Friendship Choices

Grace Kao, University of Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Vaquera, University of Pennsylvania

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative sample of youth in 7-12th grades, we examine how race and ethnicity overlap among Hispanic adolescents. We examine both self-identification and the choices of friends to evaluate the relative proximity between race and ethnic groups. Similar to previous work, we find a large contingent of Hispanics who choose Other Race. However, we also find that one-third of Hispanic youth chose no racial identifier, which supports the notion that Hispanic is a meaningful panethnic label. Empirical analyses suggest that the racial identification of other students at school has significant impact on the odds of choosing particular racial identifiers. We also find evidence that both ethnicity and race are distinct stratifiers among Hispanics as evidenced by friendship choices. Our findings support a panethnic label, but also find that race and ethnicity are important dividers among Hispanic youth.

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Presented in Session 59: Latinos and Race