The Race Contours Project
Myers, Philip Ethington, Angela James, and William Frey.
John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, based in Los Angeles,
provided a generous grant for a project titled “New Contours of Racial
Diversity in Los Angeles: Lessons from the New Multi-Racial Tabulations of the
2000 Census” (see Project Summary below). This funding is supplemented by resources of the Population
Dynamics Core of the USC Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center, under
funding from the National Cancer Institute. The latter support enabled
broadening the research base to cover national and California geographies upon
first release of the census 2000 data pertaining to race and Hispanic origin.
changing nature of race and ethnicity in Los Angeles County will be among the
most dramatic and important findings to be reported from the 2000 census. This
census will be the first to report data on individuals who claim multiple
racial heritages, thus drawing attention to the most personal frontier of
racial integration. At the same time, the ascendancy of Latinos to the largest
size group will reverse longstanding assumptions about the majority
population. Also of great social
and political consequence is whether this growing, diverse mixture of
population groups is more spatially intermingled or more segregated than
before. Ultimately, how should we view these recent changes within the longer
sweep of racial change in Los Angeles?
proposed project seeks answers to these questions and others. The first
objective is to address the technical challenge posed by the new multiracial
data of developing alternative schemes for tabulating race and ethnic data.
These alternatives will be demonstrated prior to release of the first data in
April 2001 so that journalists and policy makers will have early guidance
about the choices to be made. Part of this objective is to define a
“bridging method” for making race and Hispanic data from the 2000 census
comparable to that from 1990 and earlier. Multiracial individuals must be
allocated to the monoracial categories employed in prior censuses if
comparison is to be achieved.
second objective is calculation of segregation patterns and their changes from
1990 and before, making use of the bridging methods for defining comparable
race and Hispanic groups in successive censuses. Our key questions concern how
exposure and segregation has trended from 1990 to 2000, extending
Ethington’s prior historical time series produced with support of the Haynes
third objective is to focus on the spatial distribution patterns of
multiracial individuals recorded in the 2000 census. Which multiracial
combinations are most prevalent in Los Angeles? Also, do multiracial persons
of certain combined heritages reside in locations where many members of the
individual heritage groups are found?
final objective is to synthesize the changing meaning of race and Hispanic
origin in Los Angeles. The new
contours of racial diversity can be summarized at multiple levels—growing
diversity at the regional scale, changing interracial exposure at the
neighborhood level, and growing multiracial identity at the personal level. In
combination, these different levels of diversity provide a unique portrait of
project is conducted through the Population Dynamics Group at the University
of Southern California. Consisting of a set of allied projects and
collaborating faculty, the main offices of the Population Dynamics Group are
located in Lewis Hall of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development. Core
funding for the group is provided through the USC Transdisciplinary Tobacco
Use Research Center under a grant from the National Cancer Institute.
Additional funding is accrued through individual projects on focused research