Children of mixed racial backgrounds and their birth outcomes

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Speaker: Kate Choi

Date: Friday, October 28th at 10 AM – 12 PM

Location: Health Sciences Building (155 College Street, Toronto ON), Room HS 100


Since anti-miscegenation laws were declared unconstitutional in 1967, the United States has experienced an unprecedented rise in intermarriages. Because interracial unions are the settings in which mixed-race individuals with membership in multiple race/ethnic groups are born, they are frequently celebrated as “engines” that can diminish race/ethnic distinctions. Empirical work, however, seldom examines the extent to which interracial unions serve as childbearing context. In light of the fact that uneasiness continues to exist against interracial unions, I assess whether women are less likely to give birth to children within the context of interracial unions than they are within the context of same-race unions. I also ascertain whether births to women in interracial unions are more likely than those to women in same-race unions to be unwanted and mistimed. I finally determine whether women in interracial unions engage in poorer health behaviors relative to their peers in same-race unions. Overall, the findings from these studies will help determine whether boundary crossing in union formation generate a subpopulation of people at higher risk for poorer health.



Kate H. Choi is a social demographer who examines the causes and consequences of family formation behavior, particularly how crossing national and social boundaries influence family formation and the wellbeing of spouses and their offspring.  She contributes to this literature by pursuing two lines of scientific inquiry: (1) investigating how institutional opportunities and constraints in the context of international migration shape family formation, health, and wellbeing, and (2) identifying the social conditions that enable the crossing of social boundaries in marriage and examining the consequences of marrying spouses outside of one’s own social group.  Her work has been published in several academic journals, including Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Science and Medicine, Demography, and Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.