Genetic ancestry, skin color and social attainment: The four cities study

This paper examines the differences among Blacks by comparing genetic ancestry, skin color and social attainment of 259 residents across four US cities—Norman, Oklahoma; Cincinnati, Ohio; Harlem, New York; and Washington, District of Columbia

Dede K. Teteh; Lenna Dawkins-Moultin; Stanley Hooker; Wenndy Hernandez; Carolina Bonilla; Dorothy Galloway; Victor LaGroon; Eunice Rebecca Santos; Mark Shriver; Charmaine D. M. Royal; Rick A. Kittles


Scholarcy highlights

  • The Black population in the US is heterogeneous but is often treated as monolithic in research, with skin pigmentation being the primary indicator of racial classification
  • Our findings suggest differences in skin pigmentation by geography and support regional variations in ancestry of US Blacks
  • Race in the U.S is largely based on skin color and ancestral history and continues to be an important variable in social science and biomedical research
  • More individuals in District of Columbia reported they were employed than did respondents in OK, OH, and New York
  • When we examined the differences across sites, education and occupation variables are nominally significant in NY and OH and ancestry varied across household income brackets in OK
  • No participant from OK or NY had greater than or equal 10% Native American ancestry
  • Socioeconomic status includes occupation, household income, and education †Multinomial logistic regression analysis controlled for age, ethnicity, marital status, and employment status aWest African Ancestry bEuropean Ancestry cNative American Ancestry.
  • While central to the discussion on race and genetics , is an imprecise proxy that has the potential to mask important information about social context and genetic ancestry

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