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Why do some studies use a different set of race and ethnicity terms?
Whenever possible, the Pathways Clearinghouse follows federal standards for classifying data on race and ethnicity. For some studies—in particular, studies published before 2000—Pathways Clearinghouse uses earlier classifications of race and ethnicity to be consistent with how studies tended to report this information at the time. Pathways Clearinghouse may use either set of race and ethnicity terms, depending largely on when a study was published. There are three key differences between the two classification systems:
- Some earlier studies asked individuals to select both their ethnicity (Hispanic) and their race (White, Black, Asian, and so on). In practice, this means that, in these older studies, an individual who self-identifies as both Hispanic and White could be identified in the data as both Hispanic and White. By comparison, under current standards the same individual would be identified only as “Hispanic or Latino”.
- The language used to describe certain racial classifications has shifted over time. For example, some earlier studies might use the term , whereas later studies use Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
- For some earlier studies, Pathways Clearinghouse combined into a single category (1) the cases in which race was unknown or not reported by the study author, and (2) cases in which another category was used that is not aligned with the Pathways Clearinghouse categories. For example, a study author might present a population that is 40 percent White, 40 percent Black, 10 percent Middle Eastern or North African (MENA), and 10 percent unknown. In this scenario, the authors use a race classification, MENA, that is not clearly aligned with a category in the current federal standards. If this study was described using the older race and ethnicity classifications, then the Pathways Clearinghouse would combine the percentage of individuals who identified as MENA with those whose race was unknown, reporting that the study sample was 40 percent White, 40 percent Black, and 20 percent unknown, not reported, or another race. If the study sample were described using the current standards, by contrast, the Pathways Clearinghouse would classify the sample as 40 percent White, 40 percent Black, 10 percent another race, and 10 percent unknown or not reported. The move towards disaggregation is intended to provide practitioners with the most complete information about the demographics of the population served by a given intervention.
Why do the race and ethnicity totals sum to more than 100 percent for some studies?
The Pathways Clearinghouse strives to present a complete set of race and ethnicity data for each study, in accordance with the federal standards for classifying data on race and ethnicity. In practice, for most studies this means that an individual can fall only into single race or ethnicity category. For example, a person would identify as either Hispanic or Black, but not both. Because of this, most studies present race and ethnicity data that sums to 100 percent. In some cases, however, study authors treated race and ethnicity as non-exclusive categories. For example, an individual could self-identify both as Hispanic (ethnicity) and Black (race). In cases where individuals report on race and ethnicity separately, the sum total for race and ethnicity demographics might be greater than 100 percent.
Why does Pathways Clearinghouse list a portion of the samples for some studies as being of an unknown, not reported, or another race or ethnicity?
Individuals within the study sample could fall into these categories because they chose not to identify their race, because the authors did not collect or report race and ethnicity data, or because the individual identified with a race other than one of the federal categories. Wherever possible, the Pathways Clearinghouse differentiates between cases where race and ethnicity were unknown or not reported, and cases where race and ethnicity were reported but fell into a different category. However, a number of earlier Pathways Clearinghouse reviews of studies published before 2000 did not differentiate between unknown, not reported, and other cases, instead reporting these as a single category.
Why does the Clearinghouse report demographics on biological sex rather than gender?
Most of the studies reviewed by the Pathways Clearinghouse report information using the biological sex categories of male and female. Fewer studies report on gender demographics, including but not limited to transgender and nonbinary-inclusive gender categories. In order to present information consistently across all studies, the Pathways Clearinghouse has, at this time, limited itself to presenting biological sex categories rather than gender.