Surname Analysis for Estimating Local Concentration of Hispanics and Asians

by Allan Abrahamse, Peter A. Morrison, Nancy Minter Bolton


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Surname analysis is a potentially useful technique for identifying members of particular racial, ethnic, or language communities within a population. This paper reviews the existing state of the art for identifying persons of Hispanic or Asian origin, based on surnames distinctive of each group. The authors discuss the logic of surname analysis, describe several available surname dictionaries, and illustrate their applications in local redistricting. Results of the authors' ongoing validation studies suggest promising future directions for improving accuracy and broadening applications.

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