Refiguring "race": epidemiology, racialized biology, and biological expressions of race relations

Int J Health Serv. 2000;30(1):211-6. doi: 10.2190/672J-1PPF-K6QT-9N7U.


Given growing appreciation of how race/ethnicity is a social, not biological, construct, some epidemiologists are proposing that studies omit data on "race" and instead collect better socioeconomic data. This suggestion, however, ignores a growing body of evidence on how noneconomic as well as economic aspects of racial discrimination are embodied and harm health across the lifecourse. Developing a critical epidemiology of social inequalities in health will, at the very least, require incorporating thoughtful measures of race/ethnicity and social class in epidemiological studies and public health surveillance systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Racial Groups*
  • Social Class
  • Terminology as Topic
  • United States