If racial identity can be fluid, who changes their race?

The data here add valuable nuance to the earlier dynamics of racial identity change. For example, we see that among Americans initially identifying as white or Black, nearly all (96 per cent) identify the same way years later. This is perhaps unsurprising in light of the ingrained Black/white dichotomy in the US. But instability in identity gradually increases when moving to relatively newer groups in US society. Those who originally identify as Asian retain the same race at the lower rate of 88 per cent; multiracial identification is the most common choice for those Asians who move. Initial Hispanic identifiers change even more – only 80 per cent identify as Hispanic years later, with many of the movers expressing a white identity over time. (Note that this 14 per cent rate of change to white is partially driven by one survey, though, even when accounting for this outlier, Hispanic movement into whiteness is more common than for the other two minority groups.)

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