Social class, admixture, and skin color variation in Mexican‐Americans and Anglo‐Americans living in San Antonio, Texas

John H. Relethford, Michael P. Stern, Sharon P. Gaskill, Helen P. Hazuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social class may act in different ways as a barrier to gene flow in urban populations, depending on ethnicity. We test the hypothesis that biological variation is affected by social class subdivision using skin reflectance data collected for 393 Anglo‐American and 930 Mexican‐American adults in the major urban population of San Antonio, Texas. Two socioeconomic groups were sampled for the Anglo‐American population: a middle‐income transitional group and a high‐income suburban group. In addition, we sampled a third socioeconomic group for Mexican‐Americans: a low income barrio. Sex and age effects on skin color are minimal. Social class has no effect on skin color variation for Anglo‐Americans, whereas there is a highly significant effect on social class subdivision for Mexican‐Americans. Admixture estimates were derived from skin reflectance data and show that the proportion of native American ancestry decreases as social class increases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-102
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1983

Keywords

  • Admixture
  • Mexican Americans
  • Population structure
  • Skin color
  • Social class
  • Texas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology

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