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Health Serv Res. 2000 Oct;35(4):869-83.

The validity of information on "race" and "Hispanic ethnicity" in California birth certificate data.

Author information

  • 1Dept. of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0900, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the validity of racial/ethnic information in California birth certificate data.

DATA SOURCES:

Computerized birth certificate data and postpartum interviews with California mothers.

STUDY DESIGN AND DATA COLLECTION:

Birth certificates were matched with face-to-face structured postpartum interviews with 7,428 mothers to compare racial/ethnic information between the two data sources. Interviews were conducted in Spanish or English during delivery stays at 16 California hospitals, 1994-1995.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

The sensitivity of racial/ethnic classification in birth certificate data was very high (94 percent to 99 percent) for African Americans, Asians/Pacific Islanders, Europeans/Middle Easterners, and Latinas (Hispanics). For Native Americans, however, the sensitivity was only 54 percent. The positive predictive value of birth certificate classification of race/ethnicity was high for all racial/ethnic groups (96 percent to 97 percent).

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite limited training of birth clerks, the maternal racial/ethnic information in California birth certificate data appears to be a valid measure of self-identified race and Hispanic ethnicity for groups other than Native Americans.

PMID:
11055453
PMCID:
PMC1089157
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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