US Census Alters Race Categories On Questionnaire

The next U.S. census is still six years away, but the Biden administration is already changing the way racial groups will be enumerated. The race and ethnicity portion will now feature “Hispanic or Latino” and “Middle Eastern or North African (MENA)” as options for respondents.

The operational change took effect on Thursday, and federal agencies were given 18 months to update their protocols.

Then they have a maximum of five years to implement those new procedures, though many are expected to complete the transition sooner than the 2030 census.

A representative of the Office of Management and Budget (OMD) explained. “These updated standards are going to help us create more useful, accurate and up-to-date federal data on race and ethnicity.”

The statement continued, “These revisions will enhance our ability to compare information and data across federal agencies and also understand again how our federal programs are serving a diverse America.”

Through the 2020 census, Hispanics used a two-part question to confirm their ethnic identity. The first asked whether they were Hispanic or Latino, and then the respondent was asked to pick a race.

According to research into responses to the 2020 census, a majority of the Hispanic population chose not to check White, Black or Asian. They were more likely to select “some other race” or “two or more races.”

Studies indicated that, due to the lack of a Hispanic option, 42% of those in this ethnic group opted for “some other race.” Roughly a third chose two or more racial groups and 20% identified as White.

There will be new subcategories on the 2030 census. Under Hispanic or Latino, individuals may choose “Mexican, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, Cuban, Dominican, Guatemalan and other Central or South American or Spanish culture or origin.”

For Middle Eastern or North African census takers, the subcategories are “Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Israeli etc.”

The Afro-Latino Coalition quickly voiced concerns over the census update. It complained that “Latinos are inaccurately portrayed as a population without racial differences, despite all the research showing how Black Latinos are treated differently from other Latinos.”

It is expected that with the addition of the two new racial categories that millions of Americans will no longer list themselves as White.