Multiracial people or mixed-race people is defined as made up of or relating to people of many races. Individuals of multiracial backgrounds make up a significant portion of the population in many parts of the world. In North America , studies have found that the multiracial population is continuing to grow. In many countries of Latin America , mestizos make up the majority of the population. While defining race is controversial ,  race remains a commonly used term for categorization. Insofar as race is defined differently in different cultures, perceptions of multiraciality will naturally be subjective.
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Like all middle-schoolers Ferguson had crushes and wanted to be popular. It was the first time she realized that people are different colors—and receive different treatment because of that. For many biracial people, that understanding can be both elusive and arbitrary. From checking boxes on forms to fulfilling quotas, race is used to define and control so many aspects of everyday life. And biracial people are constantly faced with a choice. Biracial women who struggle with their own identity may feel an overwhelming outside pressure for racial clarity. Nearly two-thirds of people with a mixed-race background do not identify as multi- or biracial, according to a Pew Research Center study of Americans with at least two races in their background.
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As the nation has become more diverse, increasing numbers of Americans belong to more than one racial group. In , just one in a hundred babies born was multiracial; these days, the share has climbed to one in ten. This makes it critical for organizations—and the researchers who study them—to understand how multiracial individuals perceive themselves in terms of race, as well as how they are perceived by others. Being perceived as belonging, or not belonging, to a particular group can affect well-being. An organization might categorize a multiracial person a certain way for diversity quotas, for instance—but if she does not identify with that minority, the categorization may make her feel constrained or stereotyped.
In modern culture, the term afro-caucasian has been used to formalize and align the ethnic designation with that of other afro-ethnicities. The English term and spelling mulatto is derived from the Spanish and Portuguese mulato. Jack D. Forbes suggests it originated in the Arabic term muwallad , which means "a person of mixed ancestry". Walad means, "descendant, offspring, scion; child; son; boy; young animal, young one".