Choosing hispanic identity: Ethnic identity switching among respondents to high school and beyond

Karl Eschbach, Christina Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Objective. Assimilation and enclosure models of ethnicity developed for European-American populations predict that ethnic identity is maintained in contexts of structural and cultural isolation, but becomes fluid and optional outside of those contexts. The research tests the applicability of these models to the Hispanic-origin population. Methods. We analyze data for respondents who self-identified with a Hispanic origin in response to the first survey administered to the High School and Beyond (HS&B) panel. We estimate a logistic regression model to identify correlates of reporting non-Hispanic identity in response to the second-wave survey, administered two years later. Results. English monolingualism and attendance at a school with few Hispanic students are strongly associated with inconsistent reporting of Hispanic identity. Increasing socioeconomic status has a weaker effect. Inconsistent Hispanic identification is less common in urban areas and in census divisions with large Hispanic populations. Conclusions. Assimilation and enclosure models do apply to the sampled population. Hispanic identity becomes inconsistent for Hispanic-origin teenagers who do not speak Spanish. Growth of Hispanic-origin populations may counteract this effect in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-90
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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