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Census seeks changes in how it measures race
New notions » The bureau wants to treat “Hispanic” as a category regardless of race and stop using “Negro.”


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Terry Minnis, director of census and voting programs at the Asian American Justice Center, said more tests are needed to ensure that Asian-Americans are fully counted under a new question format. Recent tests by the Census Bureau show some decreases in responses when there were fewer check boxes available for the various Asian-American groups, which include among others Asian Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino and Vietnamese.

"As the Census Bureau looks to develop new strategies that maximize measurement and reporting on race and ethnicity, it must ensure that nothing compromises the quality and detail of data on Asian Americans," Minnis said.

At a glance

Other research findings

» Removing the term “Negro” from the census form did not hurt the response rates of blacks. While some people in 2000 indicated that the term still had relevance to them, this number has steadily declined since then.

» Under the proposed changes, the number of people who reported multiple races increased significantly. The multiracial population is currently one of the nation’s fastest growing demographic groups.

» When provided write-in lines, as much as 50 percent of people who checked their race as “white” wrote in an ethnicity such as Italian, Polish, Arab, Iranian or Middle Eastern. More than 76 percent of black respondents also wrote in an ethnicity, such as Jamaican, Haitian or Ethiopian.

» Based on focus groups, many people supported creating a separate racial category for those who identify as Middle Eastern or North African.

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