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Hispanic or Latino and Middle Eastern or North African are added to census race categories

By 37ci3 Mar28,2024



For the first time, Hispanic or Latino is listed as a race/ethnicity category, and people of Middle Eastern or North African descent will have their own check box under the new race and ethnicity standards adopted by the Biden administration.

Until now, Hispanics had a two-part question about their identity: They were asked if they were Hispanic or Latino, and then asked to choose white, black, American Indian, or another race.

The change now uses a question for race and ethnicity and allows people to check the number of applicants for their identity. Each category has subcategories with applicable examples and spaces for those not listed.

Adding a Middle East or North Africa or MENA identifier would allow some 7 to 8 million people should no longer be identified as “white” or “other” on census and other forms where such information is collected.

The changes are the second update by the federal government to categories of data on the American population. The last update in 1997 of the standards used by the federal government for the census and other agencies was designed to better capture the country’s expanding multicultural identity.

“These updated standards will help us create more useful, accurate, and up-to-date federal data on race and ethnicity,” he said. Office of Management and BudgetOn Tuesday, he spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

“And these revisions will improve our ability to compare data and information across federal agencies, and also once again understand how our federal programs serve a diverse America,” he said.

The changes took effect Thursday, and agencies have 18 months to develop plans to comply and then up to five years to implement those plans, though some will do so sooner, OMB said.

The newest standards reflect results from the 2020 Census, which showed that most Hispanics did not identify their race as white, black or Asian and instead With high probability selecting “another race” or checking “two or more races” on the decennial survey.

Research has shown that the two-part question is confusing, and non-response to the race question has increased since 1980, OMB said in an explanation of its recommendations. In the 2020 census, 4 in 10 Hispanics, or 42%, listed “another race.” A third chose two or more racial groups, and 20% chose white as their race Pew Research Center analysis.

Two new categories will have sub-categories; Those listed for Hispanic or Latino are “Mexican, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, Cuban, Dominican, Guatemalan, etc.”

For the Middle Eastern or North African category, subcategories are “Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Israeli, etc.”

Some in the Afro Latino or Black Latino population expressed concern that the combined question might blind them. But OMB found its study’s estimates of Afro-Latino populations slightly higher, with a combined question that provided detailed check boxes and write-in fields.

However, the task force recommended more research on the issue because, when researching the issue for the update, nearly half of the Afro Latinos interviewed chose only Hispanic or Latino on the combined question, even though they were Hispanic or Latino and Black or African American. They chose the American category. were involved in interviews.

Although the standards are intended for federal agencies, the impact extends beyond that area. Many researchers, local and state governments, and nonprofit groups also adhere to standards that shape policy, affect representation in government through redistribution and, in some ways, public perspectives.

The revisions were developed by a task force of career employees from 35 agencies that received more than 20,000 comments since first recommending the changes in January 2023, according to OMB. The agency says the task force held 94 “listening sessions,” three virtual town halls and tribal consultation on the proposed amendments.

In addition, OMB said it created the Interagency Committee on Statistical Standards on Race and Ethnicity to continue research because the process of updating the standards “revealed that racial and ethnic identities, concepts, and data continue to evolve.”

In addition to researching and capturing accurate data on Afro Latinos, gathering data on the descendants of enslaved people in the United States will be considered, among other topics. OMB said groups that consulted on slave genealogy did not agree on whether to collect the information.

Other race and ethnicity categories are American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Middle Eastern or North African, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and White.

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