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Income and Education Disparities Track Genetic Ancestry

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Meng Hu
Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
John Fuerst

Income and Education Disparities Track Genetic Ancestry


Structural racism has often been invoked to explain observed disparities in social outcomes, such as in educational attainment and income, among different American racial/ethnic groups. Theorists of structural racism typically argue that racial categories are socially constructed and do not correspond with genetic ancestry; additionally, they argue that social outcome differences are a result of discriminatory social norms, policies, and laws that adversely affect members of non-White race/ethnic groups. Since the examples of social norms and policies commonly provided target individuals based on socially-defined race/ethnicity, and not on genetic ancestry, a logical inference is that social disparities will be related to socially-defined race/ethnicity independent of genetically-identified continental ancestry. In order to evaluate this hypothesis, we employ admixture-regression analysis and examine the independent influences of socially-identified race/ethnicity and genetically-defined ancestry on the educational attainment and income of parents, using data from a large sample of US children. Our study focuses on self-identified Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and East Asians in the United States. Analyses generally show that the association between socially-identified race/ethnicity and outcomes is mediated by genetic ancestry and that non-White race/ethnicity is unrelated to worse outcomes when controlling for genetic ancestry. For example, conditioned on European genetic ancestry, Americans socially-identified as Black and as Hispanic exhibit equivalent or better social outcomes in both education and income as compared to non-Hispanic Whites. These results are seemingly incongruent with the notion that social outcome differences are due to social policy, norms, and practices which adversely affect individuals primarily based on socially-constructed group status

race, income, education attainment, Structural racism, genetic ancestry

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Reviewers ( 0 / 0 / 2 )
Reviewer 1: Accept
Reviewer 2: Accept

Fri 16 Jun 2023 20:51


The submission was accepted for publication.


Authors have updated the submission to version #5