Ethnic Disparities in Educational Attainment in China: Considering the Implications of Interethnic Families

TitleEthnic Disparities in Educational Attainment in China: Considering the Implications of Interethnic Families
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsHannum, Emily, Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, and Meiyan Wang
JournalEurasian Geography and Economics
Volume56
Pagination8-23
AbstractThis paper addresses the question of whether the classification of interethnic children, defined as those with one parent who is ethnic majority Han and one parent who is a member of an officially designated minority group, shapes observed patterns of educational advantage and disadvantage across official ethnic groups in China. Utilizing census data from 2000 and focusing on junior high school attainment as an outcome, we address three questions: among children classified as members of officially recognized minority groups, are interethnic children systematically different in terms of educational outcomes from non-interethnic children?; are interethnic children who are classified as minority systematically different in terms of educational outcomes from interethnic children who are classified as Han?; and, are observed patterns of educational stratification by ethnic group sensitive to the classification of interethnic children? Results show that interethnic children – whether classified as Han or minority – are generally educationally advantaged compared to their non-interethnic co-ethnics, and, in some cases, are faring comparably to or better than Han children. Moreover, the classification of interethnic children does make a difference for observed patterns of stratification. Interethnic children’s access advantage contributes to the observed advantage among historically advantaged groups and mitigates some of the disadvantages observed among historically disadvantaged groups. Better understanding of ethnic stratification in China will require additional information on the boundaries and porousness of ethnic categories. Future survey data collection efforts should consider adding questions about ethnic heritage, identity, and classification changes to the standard question about official ethnic classification.
URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15387216.2015.1056745