Loosening Boundary, Persisting Hierarchy, and the Changing Color Line: Minority-Minority Intermarriage in the Contemporary United States

Yun Zhou, Harvard University

Using Stereotype Ordered Regression, this paper analyzes the 2000 US census 5% PUMS data. The results show Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, rather than non-Hispanic Blacks, occupy the lowest position on the racial status hierarchy. East Asian American women occupy the second highest position on the status hierarchy, whereas East Asian American men fall closely behind Blacks. These results contradict the idea of “non Black-Black hierarchy” and illustrate a combination of a White-non White divide and a “tri-racial hierarchy”. Analyses demonstrate that intermarriage in the contemporary U.S. is characterized by status-exchange. Among the five groups, Blacks and East Asians have the lowest tendency of out-marrying, which suggests more rigid group boundary. Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans show highest out-marriage tendency, yet both fall on the lowest end of status ordering. These findings illustrate the disjuncture between group boundary vis-à-vis status hierarchy and call for the conceptual distinction between the two.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Population Aging; Gender, Race and Ethnicity