ETHNICITY & Census considers new approach to asking about race – by not using the term at all #PewRe search

BY D’VERA COHN, Pew Research, 6/19/15.

2020 Census QuestionPossible 2020 census race/Hispanic question for online respondents, who would click to the next screen to choose more detailed sub-categories such as “Cuban” or “Chinese.” Credit: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is experimenting with new ways to ask Americans about their race or origin in the 2020 census – including not using the words “race” or “origin” at all. Instead, the questionnaire may tell people to check the “categories” that describe them.

Census officials say they want the questions they ask to be clear and easy, in order to encourage Americans to answer them, so the officials can better collect race and Hispanic data as required by law. But many people are confused by the current wording, or find it misleading or insufficient to describe their identity.

Census forms now have two questions about race and Hispanic origin. The first asks people whether they are of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin, and states that “Hispanic origins are not races.” A second question asks, “What is this person’s race?” and includes a list of options with checkboxes and write-in spaces. The U.S. government defines Hispanic as an ethnicity, not a race.

The problem with using the word “race” is that many Americans say they don’t know what it means, and how it is different from “origin.” The agency’s focus group research found that some people think the words mean the same thing, while others see race as meaning skin color, ancestry or culture, while origin is the nation or place where they or their parents were born.

2010 Census Question on Race and Ethnicity2010 census form asks about race and Hispanic ethnicity separately. Credit: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau’s own definitions of race and Hispanic origin, which follow government-wide rules from the Office of Management and Budget, sometimes appear to overlap. A white person, for example, is defined as someone “having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa.” Hispanic is defined as a person of “Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.”

The confusion reflects a larger debate about how to define race, which used to be seen as a fixed physical characteristic and now more commonly is viewed as a fluid product of many influences. “We recognize that race and ethnicity are not quantifiable values,” the Census Bureau said in a 2013 report. “Rather, identity is a complex mix of one’s family and social environment, historical or socio-political constructs, personal experience, context, and many other immeasurable factors.”

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MARRIAGE & The Good News About Marriage: Nearly three quarters (72%) of currently married people are still with their first spouse. #Facts&Trends

Divorce: Setting the Record Straight,

Facts & Trends, 10/14/14wedding-divorcestats

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Author and social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn wants to get a few things straight about marriage and divorce in the United States. For decades, Americans have heard the divorce rate in the U.S. is around 50 percent. But Feldhahn says that while some subgroups have higher divorce rates the overall average has never hit 50 percent.

Most married people say they are happy, says Feldhahn, who debunks the divorce myth in her book The Good News about Marriage. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of currently married people are still with their first spouse.

“Yes, there is some really bad news out there,” writes Feldhahn. “But the good news is out there too. And it can give some much needed encouragement to marriages today.”

Most of the statistics about marriage, including the idea that half of marriages fail, are based on past U.S. Census department projections, says Feldhahn. But those projections were made at a time when the divorce rate was skyrocketing. If the trend had continued we would have hit 50 percent, she explains. But the divorce rate peaked around 1980…

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DIVERSITY: ‘Mexican,’ ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latin American’ top li st of race write-ins in census

Hispanics' "some other race" write-in codes‘Mexican,’ ‘Hispanic,’ ‘Latin American’ top list of race write-ins on the 2010 censusby Mark Hugo Lopez and Jens Manuel Krogstad

“What is your race? The U.S. Census Bureau asks this question of every U.S. household, but the menu of options offered may feel limiting to some.

On the 2010 census form, in addition to boxes marked “white,” “black or African Am. Or Negro” or “American Indian or Native Alaskan” or one of several Asian options, respondents have the option to select a box called “some other race”—and to write in a response in a box below.

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CENSUS & Fastest Growing Parts of US #ChurchMultiplication

Energy Boom Fuels Rapid Population Growth in Parts of Great Plains; Gulf Coast Also Has High Growth Areas
by US Census Bureau

“Of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas in the year ending July 1, 2013, six were within or near the Great Plains, including Odessa, Texas; Midland, Texas; Fargo, N.D.-Minn.; Bismarck, N.D.; Casper, Wyo.; and Austin-Round Rock, Texas.

Micropolitan statistical areas, which contain an urban cluster of between 10,000 and 49,999 people, followed a similar pattern, with seven located in or adjacent to the Great Plains among the fastest-growing between 2012 and 2013. Williston, N.D., ranked first in growth (10.7 percent), followed by Dickinson, N.D. Andrews, Texas; Minot, N.D.; and two areas in western Oklahoma (Weatherford and Woodward) also made the top 10, as did Hobbs, N.M.”


U.S. Census looking at big changes in how it asks about race and ethnicity
byPew Research Center, 3/14/14

The Census Bureau has embarked on ayears-long research project intended to improve the accuracy and reliability of its race and ethnicity data. A problem is that a growing percentage of Americans don’t select a race category provided on the form: As many as 6.2% of census respondents selected only “some other race” in the 2010 census, the vast majority of whom were Hispanic.”
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