Menu Close

Anthony D. Perez,

Research Project Personnel

Perez studies the causes and consequences of socioeconomic inequality in the US. His primary research interest focuses on the conceptualization and measurement of race/ethnicity in demographic data sources, causes of uncertainty in the reporting of race across generations and throughout the life course, and the consequences of measurement uncertainty for stratification research and demographic projections of past and future diversity. Much of his work addresses challenges in enumerating fast-growing yet racially ambiguous populations. Using Add Health data, for example, Perez finds that one in four respondents who identify as Hispanic in the baseline survey fail to confirm that identity in a follow-up interview, despite being asked nearly identical questions. In similar work using Census mircrodata, Perez seeks to reconcile contradictory images and interpretations of recent and anticipated changes in the American racial/ethnic landscape, highlighting the limitations of the contemporary measurement of race/ethnicity in the U.S., as well as the potential impact of racial fluidity on measures of demographic growth among native born subpopulations.

In a second body of work nearing completion, Perez uses primary and secondary data collected as part of the University of Washington Beyond High School Study (UW-BHS) to explore alternative measurements of race/ethnicity in social research. In one paper, he examines the correspondence between observers' perceptions of race and self-identities. Comparing the survey responses of more than 8,000 high school students to independent measures of observed race (from yearbook photos), he finds that non-black minorities have less than a 50/50 chance of being recognized as members of the same race/ethnicity with which they self-identify. In a second paper (under review, Sociological Methodology), he illuminates three common sources of uncertainty in the measurement of race/ethnicity, and demonstrates a new, self-reported survey measure ? Primary Race/Ethnicity ? that successfully classifies 96% of respondents into a single, mutually exclusive race/ethnic identity. A modified version of this survey measure has currently been incorporated into the fifth wave Add Health, on which Perez serves as a co-investigator.

Perez will develop and expand his interests in areas of socioeconomic inequality more broadly. Much of this work centers on a series of recent and planned collaborative projects at various stages of development, including coauthored papers with three current or former CPC predoctoral trainees. These papers span topics ranging from intergenerational wealth flows (using PSID data), to poverty measurement, and to long term educational attainment. These papers utilize a diverse array of data sources and methodological approaches.