Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Structural Determinants of Black-White Biracial Identification in the 2000 Census
Rachel Jernigan Butts, Michigan State University
This study borrows from Blau’s theory of intergroup relations, and empirical scholarship on interracial marriage, to assess the effects of macro-structural variables on the likelihood of black Americans reporting black-white biracial identification in the 2000 U.S. Census. To evaluate whether social forces historically shown to influence black-white intermarriage also influence black-white biracial identification, aggregate opportunity-structure parameters across 330 metropolitan areas are examined. The results provide strong support for several of Blau’s postulates. As expected, black group size, residential exposure, racial heterogeneity, racial inequality and interracial educational parity affect the likelihood of blacks in America reporting black-white biracial identification over single-race identification in much the same way that these variables have been shown to affect the likelihood of interracial marriage in past studies.