Talk:Race and ethnicity in the United States Census

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I found this

and i think it would be interesting to add this link to the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:31, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Citing the Census Bureau[edit]

It's a pain to have to wade through long pdf files to find the relevant definitions. I strongly suggest that in the future a quote of the specific passage, or at the very least a page number, be provided along with the link to the file. FilipeS (talk) 14:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


"White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "White" or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish."[9]

Aren't the Lebanese arabs? --Michael1408 22:58, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, you are absolutely correct that Lebanese are Arabs. The definition in the article was taken directly from the definitions in the U.S. Census Bureau page. [1] I believe the intention was just to give some random examples of what is classified as white in the census. It just happens that the Lebanese and Arab examples in the "such as" list overlap. To prevent people from putting in their own definitions, I think the quotes should be presented exactly how they are on the government website, as they are now. Kman543210 (talk) 23:36, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Some Lebanese-American groups say "NO" and object to being compared or placed under the realm of "Arab", but they admittedly are of Middle eastern origins alike Armenians, Iranians, Cypriots, Turks, Israelis (Jewish or non-Jewish) and Egyptian Copts not necessarily are all "Arabic" in ethnic origin but are generally Arabic-speaking peoples (i.e. Levantine Arabic) or practicing Muslims. The majority of Lebanese-Americans are Christians of Maronite, Melkite, Eastern Rite and other local forms of Orthodox Christian or Catholic churches. An estimated 2 to 3 million Americans are of Lebanese descent, but may include Assyrians since Lebanon was also part of ancient Syria and "Phoenician"s whom identify with the ancestral Phoenicians of Lebanon in the 10th-15th centuries BC. (talk) 15:16, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Iranians are Aryans. 'Nuff said. Arabs are as white as Italians are. Italians are as white as Swiss are. Etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

U.S. Census reports on Arab-Americans for first time  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:15, 15 October 2008 (UTC) 
  • All whites are caucasoids, because all caucasoids not are whites

caucasoid(antropometric/fenotipic) =/= white(genetic/purity) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:15, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Use of the word "Original"[edit]

Does anyone else find it offensive or at least controversal that the Black racial group in the census is the only one not given the respect of having their ancestry acknowledged of "original"? If black people are not people whose ancesters are the "original" inhabitents of Africa, then where on earth did they come from originally? Bear in mind that Africa is considered by most scientists to be the original homeland of humanity. It is however unreasonable to use that as an excuse to exclude "original" from the black racial group --Panehesy (talk) 03:51, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

AFAICT, anyone feeling disrespected about this should take their grievance up with the U.S. Census Bureau, not with Wikipedia. This article appears to quote the language used by the the U.S. Census Bureau webpage cited as a supporting source. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 05:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

What about the Jews?[edit]

Why doesn't the census consider the Jews an ethnic group? Has anyone ever complained about this? I would feel left out. Northwestgnome (talk) 15:25, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

I know this answer is late, but Jews are not an ethnic group. It is a religion. 14:28, 6 April 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Halofanatic333 (talkcontribs)
Was it ever asked if people are Jewish? If not has anyone ever complained about it? Thanks. Jaque Hammer (talk) 19:30, 14 September 2010 (UTC)
In United States political and community life, "Jewish-American" functions as another ethnicity, just like "Italian-American" or whatever. Probably the majority of the ancestors of U.S. Jews came from present-day Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, but in the great majority of cases, U.S. Jews do not consider themselves to be German-Americans, Polish-Americans, or Ukrainian-Americans, and would not be considered such by self-identified German-Americans, Polish-Americans, and Ukrainian-Americans. However, the U.S. census is forbidden from using religion, which leaves Jews in a somewhat anomalous situation in cases when ethnic affiliation is asked (it wasn't asked in the 2010 census). AnonMoos (talk) 16:39, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

"German American"?[edit]

This is political "correctness" running amok! If I were to migrate to America, would I be considered a German American? This seems awfully white-centric. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dvd-junkie (talkcontribs) 23:38, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

If you live in Germany now you would be. There are a small number of Americans of German ancestry who make a point of their German heritage. Most Germans who moved here melded into the majority population of English-speaking, white, Christian Americans. A lot of this has to do with the political history of Germany and the two wars fought between it and the United States, for better or for worse. Northwestgnome (talk) 16:49, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

It wouldn't be a matter of what you would be considered to be, it would be a matter of what you would consider yourself to be.

From the article: "The racial categories represent a social-political construct designed for the race or races that respondents consider themselves to be and "generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country." (emphasis added)

From Questions and Answers for Census 2000 Data on Race, March 14, 2001

Question: Will people who report two or more races be counted twice?

Answer: No. Individuals will be counted only once. However, in tabulation approaches including the 6 race groups shown alone or in combination with one or more other races, respondents will be tallied in each of the race groups they have reported. For example, people who reported "Asian and Black or African American" would be counted both in the "Asian alone or in combination" population and also in the "Black or African American alone or in combination" population. Consequently, the total of the six alone or in combination groups will exceed the total population whenever some people in the group of interest reported more than one race.

Question: How will people who do not mark any check box in the question on race, but provide a write-in entry of "Black and White" be counted in the census?

Answer: These individuals will be counted in the category "Two or more races." In tabulations where specific combinations are shown, these individuals will be tabulated in the category "White and Black or African American."

Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:30, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Need separate articles defining "race"[edit]

In at least one important place article, an editor has copied the meaning of "white", "Latin", etc. This does not make sense. We need to define articles so we can merely link in the definition. This sounds funny as a stand-alone article, and may need to be titled "White (US Census)" or somesuch. Student7 (talk) 14:38, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

There are White American etc. --JWB (talk) 15:57, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. That should work. Student7 (talk) 12:55, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Black racial groups[edit]

Can anyone name any black racial groups in Africa? I am unable to understand where this designation came from and why the black race is separated from the others in this fashion. All the others have "original peoples". Why not the black group? --Panehesy (talk) 21:10, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Norwegians I am looking for[edit]

I am William Edward Olson 81 years old, looking for cousins or other relatives. My father was Rudolph Olson, My grandfather was Jacob Olson whose first wife was Andrea (I don't know her maiden name-she died in about 1912). I had 1st cousins by the names of Jack, Phyllis,Lorraine and Lee. They have all passed away (to my knowledge).My grandfather Jacob re-married and had more children. I may have some 1/2 cousins still alive. My father married Genevive Rode from Ogdensburg in 1921. I would appreciate it if I hear from anyone who might be able to help me. Thank you Bill Olson —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:14, 12 December 2009 (UTC)


"The Census Bureau 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."

Does this include Brazil ?Eregli bob (talk) 02:52, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

I would say no... but there could be contradictory definitions. We should find proper sources mentioning Brazil and Brazilians. There might also be conflicting definitions of Hispanic versus Latino... The Ogre (talk) 12:23, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Its not unclear. Brazil is part of a Geo-political region known as Latin America. Latin America is all the Countries south of the United states border. Legally a Hispanic is a person who comes from a Spanish speaking country. A Latin can actual be from both Portuguese or Spanish speaking this is because both languages had derived from the Latin Language. Although to be fare all of the languages derived from Latin could be called the romance languages (meaning comes from Rome). such as Italian or french. but for some reason in the United states Census the Spanish and the Portuguese speaking people are considered the Latin Americans. Thing about Latin Americans is that its not a racial group its just merely a grouping meant to signify a regional origin in general. (talk) 08:34, 24 November 2013 (UTC)


why are the Arab people from North Africa considered as White people when the European people from Spain are not considered White ? It just doesn't make sense. how did this happen? Cliché Online (talk) 05:14, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

The short answer is: It didn't.
The longer answer is that a long time ago in the 20th century Syrian immigrants won the right to be US citizens as "white", and ever since, the US govt included other Middle Easterners and North Africans under the white category.
In regards to Spaniards, you're very mistaken. They identify and are counted as white. SamEV (talk) 05:53, 15 March 2010 (UTC)


Hey, don't really edit anymore much, but there is also a campaign to write in Iranian-Americans at Anyone interested can add this, or not. Khirad (talk) 15:10, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

If you mean by marking some other race than writing in Iranian?

Well if that is what you mean the government will mark you as white anyway, Iranians are considered as a part of the White race.--Wikiscribe (talk) 04:48, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

That's what s/he means. These campaigns (Arab Americans and non-Hispanic West Indians are conducting them, too) are trying to get around the government's elimination of the Ancestry question. I suppose they're banking on the fact that the government doesn't change all the "Some other race" respondents to "White", and those it does change are not changed in all of its reports. So, not a bad idea. SamEV (talk) 09:47, 17 March 2010 (UTC); 21:17, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Oh oh,i get it now the ancestry was eliminated off the census and many are un happy , the only way to change this is if they lobby in the next 10 years to re include a ancestry question, because lets say you are of Russian descent or Syrian descent for example and you mark the some other race and write in your ancestry the government is going to disregard Russian or Syrian and and just count you still only by your race as white and not count your ancestry and your race,meaning it is not going to throw a monkey wrench into the government really process and push them into adding that question back because they still know what to count when it comes to race--Wikiscribe (talk) 14:09, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, they're lobbying for its reinclusion in 2020. But the question will still be asked in the American Community Survey every month. There's also the possibility of convincing the govt to release the actual responses of those who go the "Some other race" way in the 2010 census form. So the government could still mark them as White, or Black, etc, but release the numbers of how many marked Syrian, Russian, Barbadian, Iranian, etc. SamEV (talk) 21:17, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

What is the federal government's rationale...[edit]

for asking for sub-subcategories of certain so-called races or ethnicities and not others? How is the data being used beyond publishing fascinating lists of percent values? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:17, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

I dont see their rationale in stating that for this census Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish origins will not be considered a race. Yet they still have to fill out the race question. If Hispanic and Latino will not be considered a race then what is their race?? They will be forced to fill in the box for "some other race" which is what the Census Bereau is attempting to eliminate in the first place. Again, i dont get it.
The article says, "..., with Hispanic or Latino origin asked as a separate question.", citing a supporting source which says, in part, "The revised standards will have five minimum categories for data on race: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White. There will be two categories for data on ethnicity: 'Hispanic or Latino' and 'Not Hispanic or Latino.'" The article reports, correctly, that this is the case. If you question why this is the case, your question should be directed to the responsible governmental entity -- possibly the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, but not to Wikipedia. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 23:22, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Not a forum, but there is too much expertise here to let my question go unasked - if Hispanic/Latino origin question were skipped, but the race question was filled out - how does the census deal with the missing data when reporting the results? AFAIK, you typically only see Hispanic/Non-Hispanic/Total, but not White-with-unknown-Hispanic-Origins. (I have a data set where ~4% of respondents skipped the Hispanic question but filled out the race question, and I want to summarize in a way that matches the census as close as possible.) (talk) 22:53, 4 June 2010 (UTC)



Less and less as time goes on. For what similarity there used to be, see One-drop rule, etc. AnonMoos (talk) 16:43, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Cherokees treated like an ethnicity other than a "Native American tribal sovereign nation".[edit]

Many demographers and anthropologists studied about the sharp increase of persons claimed to be Cherokee along with the rising numbers of Native American (Indian or Amerindian) descendants. There are only 3 federally recognized Cherokee tribes in the USA, but the exact numeral configuration of part-blood Cherokees or "Generokees" as they are called, are over a (1-3) million within the contiguous United States alone.

Only 10-15,000 Cherokee of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians live in Jackson County, North Carolina whom are remnants of the original homeland in the Southern Appalachians did not participate in the Trail of Tears forced marches westward to Oklahoma in the 1830's. And about 200,000 registered tribal members of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, both are of various degrees of blood quantum but are able to qualify for Cherokee tribal membership through the Dawes Roll of 1871 requiring to have at least one Cherokee ancestor in their genealogical record. The United Keetoowah Band based in Grove, Oklahoma are generally a smaller band at about 5,000 members.

But there is no question on how the Cherokee, unlike most Native American peoples and other minority groups in US history as well the world's history of diasporas, have a certain distinction and identification of who is Cherokee and can be considered part of the Cherokee people. This type of ethnological phenomenon is under analysis as well with critical scrutiny in the American Indian communities in North America. (talk) 15:23, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Definition of race[edit]

I'd like to see something a little more definitive about the word Race. I don't think there's a clear understanding of whether there is or isn't such a thing at all. Personally, I don't know. But I'd like to find out. Or at least I would like to get some more scientific opinion about the matter. Maybe it could take the form of genetics, now that we know more about it. Or is it just a social construct. But before Wikipedia starts spouting off about all the different races why don't we first try to figure out if there scientifically is considered to be such a thing in the first place? wgoetsch (talk) 16:18, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm sure that's explored on other articles, but this article is more concerned with race as defined by the U.S. census, not as defined by science... AnonMoos (talk) 00:11, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Very dubious sentence[edit]

" Thus, in addition to their race or races, all respondents are categorized by membership in one of two ethnicities, which are "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino". "

This does not make sense. "Not hispanic or Latino" is not an "ethnicity". It may be reasonably be considered to be a ethnic category, containing all people whose ethnicity is "not hispanic or latino", but that does not make the set of all people who are not hispanic or latino into an ethnicity. Even the proposition that people who are Hispanic and/or Latino constitute an "ethnicity", is a very dubious proposition.

I've therefore changed it to "ethnic categories", a more general formulation which allows for the fact that either, or both, of the two categories can contain people of one, or more, ethnicities.Eregli bob (talk) 07:15, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Map for 2000 census[edit]

File:800px-US Census 2000 race definitions Australia Sudan Afghan.PNG
The race of people based on their ancestral country of origin. This is the country race categorization that was used for the 2000 U.S. Census.
The countries from which White Americans claim their ancestry.

I've removed both maps for now (see at right). Top one was the one originally on the article and the bottom is the one that was being used to replace it. They seem to be WP:OR and poorly sourced in both cases, but the top one has better sources on the file page. I am unfamiliar with the image policies on original research. Looking for comments on the maps, their veracity, etc. Or do we even need a map? If there's a problem with the original one, why not just fix it? Other discussions of these maps can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. EvergreenFir (talk) 06:48, 2 February 2014 (UTC)