Race and ethnicity in the United States Census
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the United States Census Bureau and the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are of Hispanic or Latino origin (ethnicity).
The racial categories represent a social-political construct designed for the race or races they consider themselves to be and "generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country". The OMB defines the concept of race as outlined for the US Census as not "scientific or anthropological", and takes into account "social and cultural characteristics as well as ancestry", using "appropriate scientific methodologies", but not "primarily biological or genetic in reference".
Race and ethnicity were considered separate and distinct identities, with Hispanic or Latino origin asked as a separate question. Thus, in addition to their race or races, all respondents are categorized by membership in one of two ethnicities: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino. In 1997, OMB issued a Federal Register Notice titled "Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity", which provided new racial and ethnic definitions.
- 1 Census 2000
- 2 Comparability
- 3 Other agencies
- 4 See also
- 5 References
Race was asked differently in the Census 2000 in several ways than previously. Most significantly, respondents were given the option of selecting one or more race categories to indicate their racial identities. Data show that nearly seven million Americans identified themselves as members of two or more races. Because of these changes, the Census 2000 data on race are not directly comparable with data from the 1990 census or earlier censuses. Caution must be used when interpreting changes in the racial composition of the US population over time.Snapshot: Race in the US CensusThe 7th federal census, in 1850, asked for Colorand gave the choices:
1. Is the person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?
- No, not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino
- Yes, Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano
- Yes, Puerto Rican
- Yes, Cuban
- Yes, other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino (write in group)
2. What is the person's race?
- Black or African American
- American Indian or Alaska Native (write in tribe)
- Asian Indian
- Native Hawaiian
- Guamanian or Chamorro
- Other Pacific Islander (write in race)
- Other race (write in race)
This census acknowledged that "race categories include both racial and national-origin groups."
The following definitions apply to the 2000 census only.
- "White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "White" or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish."
- "Black or African American. A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "Black, African Am., or Negro," or provide written entries such as African American, Afro American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian."
- "American Indian and Alaska Native. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment."
- "Asian. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. It includes "Asian Indian," "Chinese," "Filipino," "Korean," "Japanese," "Vietnamese," and "Other Asian.""
- "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who indicate their race as "Native Hawaiian," "Guamanian or Chamorro," "Samoan," and "Other Pacific Islander."
- See also: Pacific Islander
- "Some other race. Includes all other responses not included in the "White", "Black or African American", "American Indian and Alaska Native", "Asian" and "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander" race categories described above. Respondents providing write-in entries such as multiracial, mixed, interracial, Wesort, or a Hispanic/Latino group (for example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban) in the "Some other race" category are included here."
- "Two or more races. People may have chosen to provide two or more races either by checking two or more race response check boxes, by providing multiple write-in responses, or by some combination of check boxes and write-in responses."
The Federal government of the United States has mandated that "in data collection and presentation, federal agencies are required to use a minimum of two ethnicities: "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino."" The Office of Management and Budget defines "Hispanic or Latino" as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race." For discussion of the meaning and scope of the Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, please see the Hispanic, Latino (demonym) or Hispanics in the United States articles.
Use of the word ethnicity for Hispanicity only is considerably more restricted than its conventional meaning, which covers other distinctions, some of which are covered by the "race" and "ancestry" questions. The distinct questions accommodate the possibility of Hispanics in the United States also declaring various racial identities (see also La Raza Cósmica, White Hispanic, Afro-Latin American, Asian Latin American, Zapotec language).
Relation between ethnicity and race in census resultsRace Hispanic or
Latino % of
H/L % of
US Not Hispanic
or Latino % of Not
H/L % of
US Any races 35,305,818 100 12.5 246,116,088 100 87.5 One race: 33,081,736 93.7 11.8 241,513,942 98.1 85.8 White 16,907,852 47.9 6.0 194,552,774 79.1 69.1 Black or
African A. 710,353 2.0 0.3 33,947,837 13.8 12.1 A. Indian/
Alaska Nat. 407,073 1.2 0.1 2,068,883 0.8 0.7 Asian 119,829 0.3 <0.1 10,123,169 4.1 3.6 Hawaiian N.
& Pacific Is. 45,326 0.1 <0.1 353,509 0.1 0.1 Some other 14,891,303 42.2 5.3 467,770 0.2 0.2 2+ races: 2,224,082 6.3 0.8 4,602,146 1.9 1.6 Some other
+ W/B/N/A 1,859,538 5.3 0.1 1,302,875 0.5 0.5 2+ W/B/N/A 364,544 1.0 0.1 3,299,271 1.3 1.2
The Census Bureau warns us that data on race in Census 2000 are not directly comparable to those collected in previous censuses. Regulations requiring the new language were published by the Office of Management and Budget in the Federal Register in 1997. In 2001, the National Institutes of Health adopted the new language to comply with Directive 15.
Many US residents see race and ethnicity as the same concept. In the absence of any racial choice that fits their understanding of themselves, 42.2 percent of Hispanics checked "some other race" in Census 2000. In response to this trend, the 2010 US Census is considering removing the "some other race" category.
- Language (United States Census)
- United States Census, 2000
- Definitions of whiteness in the United States
- Racial classification of Indian Americans
- Social construction
- Racial and ethnic demographics of the United States
- ^ American FactFinder Help; Race
- ^ American FactFinder Help; Hispanic or Latino origin
- ^ Questions and Answers for Census 2000 Data on Race from US Census Bureau, 14 March 2001. Retrieved 15 October 2006.
- ^ a b American Anthropological Association. "A Brief History of the OMB Directive 15." 1997. May 18, 2007.
- ^ "Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity"
- ^ 1850 United States Federal Census Form (pdf). U.S. Census Bureau. The Generations Network (1850).
- ^ 1880 United States Federal Census Form (pdf). U.S. Census Bureau. The Generations Network (1880).
- ^ 2000 US Census Short Form (pdf). U.S. Census Bureau (2000).
- ^ a b c d e f g h i 2000 Census of Population, Public Law 94-171 Redistricting Data File: Race. U.S. Census Bureau.
- ^ a b c d Grieco, Elizabeth M.; Cassidy, Rachel C. (2001-03). Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: Census 2000 Brief (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau.
- ^ OMB Directive 15. Office of Management and Budget (1997-10-30).
- ^ Amendment: NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research. National Institutes of Health (2001-10-09).
- ^ U.S. Census Bureau (2003-01-16). "Census Bureau to Test Changes in Questionnaire, New Response Technology". Press release.
- ^ Final Revisions of the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) by the EEOC. The page contains links to FAQs, forms and instructions
Affluence · Educational attainment · Household income · Homeownership · Immigration · Income inequality · Language · Middle classes · Personal income · Poverty · Social class · Unemployment by state · WealthReligion
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census · Maps of American ancestries · 2000 Census · Race/ethnicity by EEOC · Racism · Native Americans · Native Hawaiians · Alaska Natives · African Americans (Africans) · Asian Americans · European Americans · Arab Americans · Hispanics · Pacific Islander Americans · White Americans
Link former page on this page
Related word on this page