The Color of Class between the Lines: Multiracial Families and Socioeconomic Standing

Jenifer Bratter, Rice University
Junia Howell, Rice University
Laura Essenburg, Rice University

Race/ethnic inequality in incomes is a persistent fixture of racial stratification, marking the enduring separation between races in terms of opportunity. The racial composition of families is rarely, if ever, taken into account, missing an opportunity to detect differences between monoracial and multiracial families. This paper addresses this gap, using American Community Survey data 2006-2008 (3 year estimates), by examining the differences in income relative to the poverty line across various monoracial and multiracial types of families. Findings reveal that the income of many multiracial families’ are closer to those of White families than similar monoracial families of color, with White-Asian and White-Latino families earning significantly higher incomes. Independent of controls, differences between multiracial and monoracial families narrow considerably, marking both the dramatically distinctive compositions of multiracial families relative to many monoracial families as well as the ways race continues to “matter” in the midst of racial mixture.

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Presented in Session 28: Rethinking Racial/Ethnic Distinctions and Measurement