Race and ethnicity in the United States Census

The divisions of race and ethnicity in the United States Census are definitions that have been defined by the United States Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget ( OMB ) of the Federal Government of the United States. This is a categorization according to the divide, the population of the United States to fill out the questionnaires to the census itself. Sure you select one or more of the "races" of, with which they can identify the most likely. They must also indicate whether they are Hispanic or Latino by origin or not. The categorization of "race" corresponds to this self-disclosure, but also represents the general "social definition of race ', which are [ the United States ] ... recognized ".

The Office of Management and Budget defines the concept, which is defined in the census, not as "scientific or anthropological " but considered " both social and cultural characteristics as well as the origin ", which are considered "appropriate scientific methodologies ", but not in " primarily biological or genetic reference ". "Race" and ethnicity are considered separate and different properties, and by Hispanic origin is asked separately. Consequently, all residents are classified into one of two ethnicities: Hispanic or Latino and non - Hispanic or Latino. The first time in the census of 2000, the applied criteria have been established by the Office of Management and Budget in 1997.

Census 2000


According to the " Race" was in the 2000 census asked in a different way than before. The most obvious difference was that the respondents were allowed not only one but select multiple race categories to define their self-understanding. The data analysis showed then that nearly seven million Americans belonging to perceive two or more "races". Because of these changes, the results of the census of 2000 are not directly comparable with the results of previous censuses. In the interpretation of changes in the composition of the U.S. population in terms of belonging to a "Race" one must therefore be cautious.

  • Black
  • Mulatto
  • Black
  • Mulatto
  • Chinese
  • Indian

1 Is the person Spanish / Hispanic / Latino?

  • No, not Spanish / Hispanic / Latino
  • Yes, Mexican, Mexican - American, Chicano
  • Yes, puerto rican
  • Yes, Cuban
  • Yes, unlike Spanish / Hispanic / Latino ( group name )

2 What is the "race" of the person?

  • Black or African- American
  • Indigenous Americans (parent name )
  • Asian Indians
  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Hawaiians
  • Guamer or Chamorro
  • Samoer
  • Residents of other Pacific islands ( specify)
  • Other "race" ( specify)

The following definitions apply only to the Census of 2000.

  • The term "White Americans " ( White ) to describe people whose ancestry dates back to any original group in Europe, the Middle East or North Africa. It summarizes persons who identify themselves as White or make entries as German - Americans, Italian-Americans, Albanians, Irish, British, Arab- American and Slavic - Americans.
  • The term "Black or African- Americans " ( Black or African American ) refers to people whose origin is one of the black peoples of Africa. It includes both persons who identify themselves as black or African American, as well as those who make entries such as Caribbean - Americans, Haitians, Nigerians or Kenyans.
  • " Indigenous Americans " (American Indian and Alaska Native ) are persons whose provenance of the original peoples of North or South America is, and which is still understood as a tribe belonging ( Indians of North America including Alaska ).
  • " Asian " (Asian ) are persons whose origin are the nations in East Asia, South Asia or Southeast Asia, for example, in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand or Vietnam. It includes entries such as " Indian- American", " Chinese- American " Filipino, " Korean - American", " Japanese- American" and " other Asians " one.
  • The term "Pacific Islander " ( Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander ) refers to persons with origins in any of the ethnic groups that originally inhabited the islands of the Pacific, such as Hawaii, Guam or Samoa. This includes responses such as indigenous Hawaiians, Guamer, Samoa - American and Chamorro. According to the U.S. Census count Aboriginal people to this breed.
  • "Other races" ( other-race ) are counted all the answers that do not fit into any of the other groups. This classification is intended primarily for answers as mulatto, creole or mestizo. Nine-tenths of those who classify themselves in this group give to be at Hispanics.
  • The classification of " two or more races " ( Two or more races ) refers to individuals who belong to several "races". These are as defined by the U.S. Census those that have ticked two or more "races", several entries made ​​in the wording used or a combination thereof.


The U.S. federal government requires that " use in the collection and presentation of data, the federal authorities at least two ethnic groups. , Hispanic or Latino 'and' Not - Hispanic or Latino ' " The Office of Management and Budget defines " Hispanic or Latino " as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, puerto Rican, south or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race."

Use of the word ethnicity only in terms of Hispanic origin is therefore far more limited than the usual understanding of the word, whose real distinctions are reflected in the census questionnaire in the questions of "race" and origin. This distinction allows the Hispanics in the United States to bring their separate identities in terms of their skin color expression.

In the census of 2000, declared 12.5 % of the U.S. population to belong to the ethnicity of Hispanic or Latino.

Result of the 2000 census: ethnic group according to "race"

The census of 2000 revealed regarding the ethnicity, the following result:


The Census Bureau points out that the data on the "races" are not directly comparable with the results of previous censuses. The rules regarding the new definitions were published in 1997 by the Office of Management and Budget in the Federal Register.

Many residents of the United States see "race" and ethnicity as matching approach. The absence of a choice that corresponded to their self-image most likely crossed 42.2% of Hispanic or Latino of the census of 2000, the possibility of " another race " to. Therefore, it is planned to the category of " other " race " " to remove from the questionnaires for the Census 2010.

Other authorities

In 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the U.S. Department of Labor has adapted in its domain, the divisions of "race" and ethnicity in the current definitions of the OMB.