History, place, and racial self-representation in 21st century America

Carolyn Liebler, Meghan Zacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


How is a person's racial self-representation related to the race history of the place in which he or she lives? We use Census Bureau data about race and ancestry to address this research question for two groups of people with mixed racial heritage: those reporting white and American Indian heritages, or reporting black and American Indian heritages. Links between history, place, and self-representation can be seen in geographic clustering for each race/ancestry response combination. We use multinomial logistic regression models to predict individuals' race/ancestry responses (e.g., white with American Indian ancestry versus white and American Indian races) using measures of local race history and the area's contemporary racial composition. Multivariate results highlight the relationship between a person's identity claims and the history of the area, net of contemporary area composition. Future research should attend to the history of the place as a potential contributor to contemporary patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-232
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Versions of this paper were presented at the annual meetings of the Population Association of America and the annual meetings of the American Sociological Association. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the University of Minnesota through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. We are also thankful for the assistance of the Spatial Analysis Core and writing support programs of the Minnesota Population Center, which receives funding from the NICHD Population Research Infrastructure Program ( NIH HD41023-01 ). We received helpful comments from J. Trent Alexander, Caren Arbeit, Julia Rivera Drew, Catherine Fitch, Eric Grodsky, Douglas Hartmann, Liying Luo, Ross Macmillan, Anthony Perez, Natasha Rivers, and C. Matthew Snipp.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Ancestry
  • Census
  • History
  • Identity
  • Place
  • Race


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