U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke arrives at the presentation of the 2010 Census U.S. population at the National Press Club in Washington (Photo : Reuters)
The Latino community should expect changes in the next time the Census comes around. The US Census Bureau announced it would count Hispanics as a "mutually exclusive group," according to the Associated Press. Another change is the controversial use of the term "Negro."
The changes are currently recommendations from the bureau based on research on the best ways to number the various demographics in the US.
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The research was created during the 2010 census when many people felt they did not fit within the five race categories the government created: white, black, Asian, Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native.
"This is a hot-button issue," said Angelo Falcon to the Associated Press, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy in New York City and a community adviser to the census. "The burden will be on the Census Bureau to come up with evidence that wording changes will not undermine the Latino numbers."
For Hispanics, they are defined in the census as an ethnicity, not a race. The bureau reported about 18 million Latinos chose the "some other race" category on their census forms, as there was no Hispanic race option.
The term "Negro" will be removed from the census form. The choice "black" or African American will be included in the future.
The National Urban League issued a statement on the upcoming changes, "We believe the proposed changes are consistent with the way most people do choose to self-identify and will enable census to more accurately capture the growing racial/ethnic diversity in the U.S."
The Arab-American community will also see changes and gained the support from the Arab American Institute.
A spokesperson told the Associated Press, "The Census Bureau's current method for determining Arab ancestry yields a significant undercount of the actual size of the community, and we're optimistic that the new form should be significantly better at capturing ancestry data."
"As new immigrant groups came to this country decade after decade, how we measure ethnicity changed to reflect the changing composition of the country," said Census Director Robert Groves. "Since that change is never ending and America gets more and more diverse, how we understand and tabulate the information has to be continually open to change."
Graves added, "It's critical that race and ethnicity reflect how people identify themselves."