The problematic status of statistics on race and ethnicity: An "imperfect representation of reality."

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/106044
Title:
The problematic status of statistics on race and ethnicity: An "imperfect representation of reality."
Author:
Robbin, Alice
Citation:
The problematic status of statistics on race and ethnicity: An "imperfect representation of reality." 1999, 26(5):467-483 Journal of Government Information
Publisher:
Elsevier
Journal:
Journal of Government Information
Issue Date:
1999
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/106044
Submitted date:
2008-04-11
Abstract:
This article extends Stratford's brief observations about the problematic status of racial and ethnic group statistics to a discussion of the relationship among these statistics, public policy, and the conceptual status of race and ethnicity. Federal statistics are organizational products that are socially constructed. They represent the implementation of public policies that govern political, social, and economic life. It is the interaction between politics and the subjective meaning of race and ethnicity that is responsible for the continual modification of racial and ethnic group statistics. The article discusses the premises on which racial and ethnic group statistics have been based and illustrates how they were implemented in the instructions of the decennial censuses for classifying the race and ethnicity of the population. The article then summarizes some of the empirical evidence from recent research conducted by federal agencies and social scientists to show that racial and ethnic group statistics produced by government record keeping systems have no objective status. The meaning of race and ethnicity is contextual, situational, and subjective, and, thus, how respondents and observers define these concepts has significant consequences for the quality of federal statistics.
Type:
Journal (Paginated)
Language:
en
Keywords:
Sociology; Information Science; Government Information; Information Ethics; Anthropology
Local subject classification:
federal statistics; decennial census; race; ethnicity; minority groups

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorRobbin, Aliceen_US
dc.date.accessioned2008-04-11T00:00:01Z-
dc.date.available2010-06-18T23:38:46Z-
dc.date.issued1999en_US
dc.date.submitted2008-04-11en_US
dc.identifier.citationThe problematic status of statistics on race and ethnicity: An "imperfect representation of reality." 1999, 26(5):467-483 Journal of Government Informationen_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/106044-
dc.description.abstractThis article extends Stratford's brief observations about the problematic status of racial and ethnic group statistics to a discussion of the relationship among these statistics, public policy, and the conceptual status of race and ethnicity. Federal statistics are organizational products that are socially constructed. They represent the implementation of public policies that govern political, social, and economic life. It is the interaction between politics and the subjective meaning of race and ethnicity that is responsible for the continual modification of racial and ethnic group statistics. The article discusses the premises on which racial and ethnic group statistics have been based and illustrates how they were implemented in the instructions of the decennial censuses for classifying the race and ethnicity of the population. The article then summarizes some of the empirical evidence from recent research conducted by federal agencies and social scientists to show that racial and ethnic group statistics produced by government record keeping systems have no objective status. The meaning of race and ethnicity is contextual, situational, and subjective, and, thus, how respondents and observers define these concepts has significant consequences for the quality of federal statistics.en_US
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdfen_US
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.publisherElsevieren_US
dc.subjectSociologyen_US
dc.subjectInformation Scienceen_US
dc.subjectGovernment Informationen_US
dc.subjectInformation Ethicsen_US
dc.subjectAnthropologyen_US
dc.subject.otherfederal statisticsen_US
dc.subject.otherdecennial censusen_US
dc.subject.otherraceen_US
dc.subject.otherethnicityen_US
dc.subject.otherminority groupsen_US
dc.titleThe problematic status of statistics on race and ethnicity: An "imperfect representation of reality."en_US
dc.typeJournal (Paginated)en_US
dc.identifier.journalJournal of Government Informationen_US
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