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Effect of Race and Ethnicity Classification on Survey Estimates: Anomaly of the Weighted Totals of American Indians and Alaska Natives (American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research: The Journal of the National Center)

December 1, 2009

CHIS Journal Article

Authors: Sunghee Lee, Delight E. Satter, MPH, Ninez A. Ponce, PhD, MPP

This article examines how different racial classifications affect survey weights and consequently change health-related indicators for the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population in California. Using a very large random population-based sample of AIANs, the authors compared the impact of three weighting strategies on counts and rates of selected health indicators. They found that different weights examined in this study did not change the percentage estimates of health-related variables for AIANs, but did influence the population total estimates dramatically. In survey data, different racial classifications and tabulations of AIANs could yield discrepancies in weighted estimates for the AIAN population. Policy makers need to be aware that the choice of racial classification schemes for this racial-political group can generally influence the data they use for decision making.

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