Churning races in Canada: Visible minority response change between 2006 and 2011

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Why do most people have stable responses to census race questions, while some do not? Using linked Canadian data, we examine personal, social, and economic characteristics that predict response stability as White or as one of six large visible minority groups, versus a change in response to/from White or to/from another visible minority group. Response change rates in Canada are generally comparable to those in the US, UK, and New Zealand. Likely reflecting the centuries-old hegemony of Whites in these countries, White is the most stable response group in Canada as well as the US, UK, and New Zealand. Multiple-race response groups are among the newest and least stable response groups. Social statuses and experiences (mixed ethnic heritage, immigration status, and exposure to own-group members) are generally more predictive of race response stability and change than economic (income level and change in income) or personal statuses (education, age). This highlights the socially-constructed nature of race group boundaries. Joining and leaving a group are often predicted by the same status/characteristic and in the same direction, hinting that the status/characteristic adds complexity to the race-related experiences of constituents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102388
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Minnesota Population Center (P2C HD041023) funded through a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Appendix

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019


  • Canada
  • Census
  • National household survey
  • Race response change
  • Visible minority groups


Dive into the research topics of 'Churning races in Canada: Visible minority response change between 2006 and 2011'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this