Census Rethinks Hispanic on Questionnaire

Haya El Nasser, USA Today, January 4, 2013

Hispanics may become a race of their own in the U.S. Census—a major change that some Latino advocacy groups are opposing.

Currently, the Census considers Hispanic not a race but an ethnic background. Hispanics can be of any race, and Hispanic origin is asked on Census forms in a question separate from the one about race.

Now, the Census is considering eliminating the Hispanic origin question and combining it with the race question in a “race or origin” category.

The change would be the biggest adjustment to Census questions about race since the 2000 Census, when people for the first time were allowed to check more than one race—a nod to the nation’s growing multiracial population.

The federal government periodically alters race and ethnicity questions to keep up with shifts in the social fabric of the nation. For example, “mulatto” was a Census category in 1920. “Negro” may finally be dropped in 2020.


The potential Census changes don’t please some Hispanics even though many feel boxed in by the current race categories: white, black, Asian, American Indian. When the Census added a fifth in 1980—“some other race”—so many Hispanics chose it that it is now the third-largest race group behind white and black; 95% of those who selected “some other race” are Hispanic.


Latino civil rights groups don’t embrace the change because they like the separate ethnicity question, which offers check-off boxes for national origins such as Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican.

“There is no unanimity on what any of this stuff means,” says Angelo Falcon, director of the National Institute for Latino Policy and co-chair of a coalition of Latino advocacy groups that recently met with Census officials. “Right now, we’re very comfortable with having the Hispanic (origin) question. . . .   Hispanic as a race category? I don’t think there’s any consensus on that.”

The Census is a high-stakes numbers game that helps cement the political and financial clout of various interest groups.

Legislative district lines, representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and federal funding are all based on Census counts. When people don’t select a race, the Census Bureau has to extrapolate it from the racial profile of the neighborhood they live in and other factors—a scientific guessing game.

“People are asking for ways to express their identities,” says Nicholas Jones, chief of the Census racial statistics branch, who says that some respondents view their Hispanic origin as their race rather than an ethnic group. “A combined question (race and origin) approach is more in line with how Hispanics identify and view themselves.”

Tests show that folding the Hispanic question into the race question does not reduce the number of Hispanics, Jones says. The revised questionnaire was sent to about a half-million households during the 2010 Census and more tests are in the works. {snip}

The format under consideration allows everyone to list a national origin under the race selected, whether it’s Irish, Guatemalan, Somalian or Jamaican—something not currently available to blacks and whites who are not Hispanic.

The change could satisfy demands for more recognition from other groups such as Middle Easterners and North Africans who don’t feel they fit neatly in current race boxes.


To view proposed Census changes, go to:


Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • pcmustgo

    Thank God!!!!!!

    Didn’t the Census used to have a space for European orgin- like German-American, etc.

  • A multiracial individual

    This will likely reduce the “White” crime rate.

    • Sherman_McCoy

      If they lump latinos in with whites now, why do you think it would change?

      • Daisy

        Hispanics will have a fit…they definitely do not want *whites* to know how endangered they are. I’ve noticed state stats like to do this to hide just how many non-whites are sucking off the system, and also to try to prevent whites from suing for discrimination when they are in fact a very small minority among blacks, and hispanics classified as ‘caucasians.’

        I do not believe in race, only ethnicity and larger ethnic groups, like europeans, mediterraneans, asians, blacks, etc. The 2010 census was shocking in how minute the differences were that it recognized in say, various pacific islanders, yet I had to choose a category that included mediterraneans and semites, neither of whom belong to my native european family. For years the british have offered the ‘white-irish’ box and ‘white-mediterranean’ box, even though I don’t consider mediterraneans to be white. There should be a category of people who have had to check the white box in the US and get exploited (that doesn’t include semitic people who don’t even purport to come from Europe), but I simply do not believe in the three races pseudo-science. Also, it’s always seemed odd that black people appropriate Africa for themselves when the entire north african region obviously isn’t black. Blacks should be calling themselves sub-saharan africans because that’s what they are, instead of trying to claim an entire continent and billions of people. Last, anyone noticed how blacks and hispanics love the ‘people of color’ label until they have some angle to grind against one another?

    • Jefferson

      No more classifying Hispanic thugs who look like they could be related to Manuel Noriega, as “White”.

  • Samantha

    Why don’t they use classifications like Mestizo, Mulatto or Amerindian, as all Latin American countries do? If the USA wants to be a hip multiracial empire, it needs to get with current terminology.

    • Hispanics would oppose it because it would reduce their solidarity and political clout.

      • Michael_C_Scott

        With El Salvadoran MS-13 members gunning down Puerto Ricans who have no gang affiliations, publicly in US streets, I’d say offhand that trans-national Hispanic solidarity is a dead letter.

        • jay11

          Every latino I know from the various countries down there HATES Puerto Ricans. Honestly, other latinos cannot stand them, and often voice hatred when puerto ricans are mentioned. I challenge all of you to test this theory. you’ll be amazed.

          • tremendouscoast

            There is some truth to this but in part this is due to the fact there are no immigration issues regarding Puerto Ricans.

        • tremendouscoast

          Trans-national Hispanic ‘solidarity” is a pipe dream of white liberals.

      • tremendouscoast

        This Puerto Rican would not because I AM white and do not want to be indentified with darker Hispanics and certainly not the illegals. I dislike them more than you do. There is a big difference in PR between the European Spanish culture and the others.

  • The__Bobster

    I have the feeling that YT will end up the loser in all of this, since the “mongrel” category can grow a lot faster while the YT category shrinks..

  • jay11

    The ‘La Raza” types I work around should love this, as they have ‘brown pride’ all around. They only oppose it because it will scare the heck out of americans to know how many jumped the fence in the last 30 years.

    • There are also a number of Hispanics that consider themselves white and regardless if this happens or not, will still consider themselves white.

      • RisingReich

        Yeah that’s great but they AREN’T white and by the way, if I thought I was ‘black’ would I be able to write that down just out of wishful thinking? I think not.

        • Hispanics have Spanish ancestry. Argentines could easily have some German ancestry since there is a large German population in that country.

          • Jefferson

            Last time I checked, the vast majority of Hispanics in the U.S are not from Argentina. The vast majority of Hispanics in the U.S come from predominantly Nonwhite countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Honduras, etc.

          • tremendouscoast

            I am a completely white person of Puerto Rican ancestry who is also a race realist.

          • herna

            even in Argentine whites are minority

          • herna

            contrary to what one thinks whites are a minority in Argentina, about 30%

        • tremendouscoast

          My father was Puerto Rican (great-grandfather was from Spain) and I am as white as anyone else on Amren. I promise you would not pick me out of a crowd as being a minority. There are a good number of others similarly situated who consider themselves as white and have nothing for ‘La Raza’ or illegal aliens.

          • guto

            show your picture? because all Latinos I know who claim to be white, in fact, are mestizos

      • Tom_in_Miami

        I know people who are named “Pedro Gonzalez” and similar names, yet they are as fair as a Swede and have blue eyes. They are labeled “Hispanic” and they go to the front of the line when the scholarships and promotions are handed out. I wonder how long we will put up with this discrimination against ourselves and our families, and I wonder what form the resistance will initially take. Don’t forget that the Republicans are not, for the most part, on our side on this issue. They just don’t brag about it like the Dems do.

        • Jefferson

          But most people named Pedro Gonzalez are not as fair as a Swede, because if they were than Latin America would not be a 3rd world banana republic with an extremely high crime and murder rate.

          Remember that people who are as fair as Swedes only create prosperous 1st world societies with a very low crime and murder rate.

          Latin American countries like Colombia, El Salvador, and Venezuela for example, dominate the list of countries with the highest per capita murder rates in the world.

          The reason those countries are so violent is because most of the population there are not as fair as Swedes.

  • Isn’t there a mixed race category listed in the census for people of two or more races? Could they not use that?

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Yes, but even Hispanics don’t want to be lumped in with President Oogabooga.

  • Aaron

    “People are asking for ways to express their identities,” says Nicholas Jones, chief of the Census racial statistics branch.
    So race is identity? Interesting.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Don’t the same folks keep telling us that race is a “social construct”? Which way do they want it?

  • Sean

    I bet those who insisted on referring to George Zimmerman as “whie Hispanic” don’t like this.

  • Actually, white Hispanics don’t give a hoot about their little brown “brethren”. Truly racial categories are, as we know- white, black, mulatto, mestizo, Mongoloid east Asian ..also, some specific mixes like Middle Eastern types who are not white, although they’re Caucasian.

    These categories would give realistic picture ONLY IF various preferential treatments are eliminated.

    • Jefferson

      If most “White Hispanics” don’t care about their little Brown brethren, why do most “White Hispanics” support more Brown immigration from Latin America.

      How come most “White Hispanics” do not want to keep the U.S a predominantly White nation. Why do most “White Hispanics” support The Dream Act, open borders, and amnesty.

      Very few “White Hispanics” would agree with Pat Buchanan, Tom Tancredo, Joe Arpaio, and Michael Savage’s views on illegal immigration.

      “White Hispanics” maybe “White” on the outside, but most of them are Brown on the inside if you catch my drift.

      • How do you know all this ? How on earth can you know what various known white Hispanics like Isabel Allende, Cameron Diaz or Andy Garcia think ? Probably, they just don’t want to mess with these things. In short- they don’t like avalanche of little brown people, but keep their mouth shut because they have other priorities in life. It is one of the great delusions that assimilated white Hispanics are somehow conniving behind the scenes to get more clout. Well- no. They want to be just like other whites, and accepted as such, and not to be lumped with AmerIndian hispanophones.

        • Jefferson

          The voting pattern of so-called “White Hispanics” says it all about where their loyalty stands. Most of them vote lock and step for the pro-illegal immigrant party, a.k.a The Democratic Party.

          Some of the biggest cheerleaders for more Brown immigration from south of the border, are so-called “White Hispanics” like Liberal Democrats Bob Menendez and Jorge Ramos for example. They all want America to have more “vibrant diversity”. They are all enemies to White American interests.

          • tremendouscoast

            This white Hispanic voted for Virgil Goode.

          • John

            White Hispanics vote nearly as heavily Republican as White Europeans. How else do explain Republican electoral success in Texas, without White Hispanics? Most California Hispanics are Brown, Most Texas Hispanics are White. That’s why Cali is Blue and Texas is Red for now.

          • Jefferson

            Texas is a Southern state, and Southern Non Hispanic Whites vote overwhelmingly Republican.

            Republican electoral success n Texas is due to Rednecks, not Hispanics. Most Hispanics in Texas are not White.

            Most Hispanics in Texas are Brown just like San Antonio mayor Julian Castro. All of the Texas counties near the Mexican border vote overwhelmingly Democrat.

            The counties near the Mexican border is Obama country. For example, Obama won a clear landslide victory in the heavily Mexican El Paso county with 65 percent of the vote.


  • archaeologist race realist

    The long classified 3 archaeological races are white caucasoid Europeans that include white arabs and white jews of the Shem race, red yellow mongoloid Asians of the Japheth race that include all the so called natives who were here when white hispanics like Columbus came 500 years ago and last and least are the negroid African of the cursed black race.
    It may sound like a myth and fairytale but its written in stone 3500 years.

    • Daisy

      Your biblical source is hardly convincing…since when does the Bible have anything to do with science? Besides, you contradict yourself in calling arabs who are from Arabia and jews who hail from Judea caucasoid Europeans. Hello? Neither of those places are in Europe last I checked…

      • heroic constantine

        At least you can take it or leave it unlike the cult islamic hacks who will sever off your head at the neck bone or blow your brains out if you diss their bogus pedophile mohammed messenger fake in any way.

        • crusader heros

          yea its not like these muslims are not trying to take over the planet as the fastest growing mindwash with 1.5 billion and counting … call it good mindwash vs bad mindwash … read up on the crusader approaching their 1000 year millinium anniversary who spent 200 years defeating these pagans in 8 wars since had it not been for them you would unquestionably be speaking arabic right now on your knees 5 times a day to some ancient cresent moon bullshit symbol… second guessing history with ignorance can be detrimental to your long term health … millions have fought and died in the past for your current freedom of choice to disagree … always stay on the good side of brainwash not the bad side.

  • shattered

    Great idea. Let’s be accurate for once on the census.

    • LuisArroyo

      I see you cowardly listed as GUEST……..you stereotyping Dufus! Vanna White ( Puerto Rican Dad) teen actress Victoria Justce & Red Sox’s Mike Lowell, Former. And late MS Puerto Rico Ada Perkins.,Joaquin Phoenix…Puerto Ricans of Irish descent. The millions more of Spaniard descent, then you have Black Puerto Ricans like Bernie Williams, Roberto Clemente….

      What about the millions of hispanic Blacks from The Dominican Republic? Panama? Venezuela? Are we to obscure their black identities?…famouse White Hollywood legends like Rita Hayworth ( MargaRITA Cansino), Raquel Welch, modern whites like Selma Hayeck, Michelle Rodriguez,Selena Gomez, The Estevez aka Sheen Father and siblings like Martin Sheen & Sons Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez……..I guess they arent white because the Census says so.

      I guess the actor who plays “Machette” isnt a Mexican American of Native American race, no…he’s just “HISPANIC RACE”
      Argentine American beauty Alexis Bledel MUST BE WEARING BLUE EYE CONTACTS, because NOW she’s not “white, just HISPANIC RACE, in fact the millions in south America of German and Irish, Italian descent, are to be stripped of their whiteness……….Pope Francis is no longer a White Argentinian of Italian [email protected] When he eventually visits the US, he will simply be a ” HISPANIC RACE” pope!

  • LuisArroyo

    Remember that beautiful blue eyed teacher in Connecticut that died for her kids at Sandy Hook elementary? SHE WAS ALSO PUERTO RICAN AMERICAN. I only found out in spanish TV & Internet Radio from Puerto Rico, where she was post honered . I guess she wasnt white according to new census rules. Neither is Ricky Martin, Shakira.
    I Guess Cameron Diaz and Vanna White can no longer be white, either!

    This is a Liberal multicultural attempt in tangent with self appointed latino “leader” who are alarmed at the rising number of Hispanic and NON Hispanis White intermarriage, along with The percentage of overall hispanics choosing ” WHITE” as the biological race FINALLY GOING OVER 50%!! Hispanics are assimilating and the multiculturalists in the US Census dont like the idea of latinos merging into both White (primarily ) and Black America. The want to make “Hispanic” into a seperate RACE TO ABORT HISPANIC ASSIMILATION AND CREATE A DIVIDE BETWEEN WHITES AND THE NEW OFFICIAL NONWHITE HISPANIC “RACE”.

    Corporate america makes $$$$ in the “Hispanic Market” and wont let this market melt into “white” . Neither are the victim groups and multicultural extremists willing to lose a Massive voting block to the “white ” mainstream.

    If the Hispanics are all forced into a non black non white race, THEY WONT ASSIMILATE, and the multiculturalist will succeed in their ultimate objective……white America artificially reduced to 45% by 2040. Biologically, America will be Majority white ( 75%) in 2050, yet, thanks to the ” benefits of claiming non white status”….no ene will want to check off ” white” if they can pick their culture as a “race”.