Gender, Generation, and Multiracial Identification in the United States

2021
Author(s)

Multiracial self-identification is frequently portrayed as a disproportionately female tendency, but previous research has not probed the conditions under which this relationship might occur. Using the 2015 Pew Survey of Multiracial Adults, we offer a more comprehensive analysis that considers gender differences at two distinct stages: reporting multiple races in one's ancestry and selecting multiple races to describe oneself. We also examine self-identification patterns by the generational locus of multiracial ancestry. We find that females are more likely to be aware of multiracial ancestry overall, but only first-generation females are more likely than their male counterparts to self-identify as multiracial. Finally, we explore the role of racial ancestry combination, finding that multiracial awareness and self-identification are likely gendered differently for different segments of the mixed-race population. This offers a more nuanced picture of how gender interacts with other social processes to shape racial identification in the United States.