Objective: To assess the utility of imputing race/ethnicity using U.S. Census race/ethnicity, residential address, and surname information compared to standard missing data methods in a pediatric cohort.
Data sources/study setting: Electronic health record data from 30 pediatric practices with known race/ethnicity.
Study design: In a simulation experiment, we constructed dichotomous and continuous outcomes with pre-specified associations with known race/ethnicity. Bias was introduced by nonrandomly setting race/ethnicity to missing. We compared typical methods for handling missing race/ethnicity (multiple imputation alone with clinical factors, complete case analysis, indicator variables) to multiple imputation incorporating surname and address information.
Principal findings: Imputation using U.S. Census information reduced bias for both continuous and dichotomous outcomes.
Conclusions: The new method reduces bias when race/ethnicity is partially, nonrandomly missing.
Keywords: Multiple imputation; U.S. Census location and surname data; health disparities; race and ethnicity.
© Health Research and Educational Trust.