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What Census Box Are Hispanics Supposed to Check Now?

Posted: Jan 08, 2013


The U.S. Census Bureau is considering changes to its questionnaire to make it easier for Latinos to identify themselves. Those in favor of the possible changes say they will lead to a more accurate snapshot of America's Hispanics. Those against the changes worry that a new format could depress Latino numbers.

The Bureau is on the right track, argues Raul Reyes for NBC Latino. The 2010 census form left many Hispanics perplexed. While Question 8 asked whether a person was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, Question 9 was problematic. It asked respondents their race, and the possible answers were white, Black, American Indian, Asian, or "some other race." Even more confusing, Question 9 also presented choices like Filipino, Samoan, and Korean, which are definitely not a race. Latinos could be excused for wondering,"What box are we supposed to check?"

No surprise, then, that over 18 million Hispanics picked "some other race" - comprising 97 percent of those who chose this category. This mismatch between Latino identity and the census options needs to be fixed.

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