By Michael Oleaga / m.oleaga@latinospost.com (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Jan 04, 2013 03:18 PM EST
Tags US Census

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)

A change in the next U.S. Census form might be on its way and rethink the categorization of Hispanics.

Currently, the Census categorizes Hispanics as an ethnic background but it could become a race question, a change Latinos groups are opposing.

According to USA Today, the Census is considering in eliminating the Hispanic origin question and combining with the "race or origin" question.

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The change might mark the biggest modification in the Census form since people were allowed to check more than once race in the 2000 Census. Previous changes in the Census form included the term "mulatto" in the 1920 Census and the possibility to eliminate "Negro" for the 2020 Census.

The current Census race categories are American Indian, Asian, black, white, and "some other race." Hispanics - 95 percent of them - have selected "some other race," and have surpassed blacks as the top minority group representing 16.7 percent of the U.S. population.

"There is no unanimity on what any of this stuff means," said National Institute for Latino Policy Director Angelo Falcon, via USA Today, who also serves as co-chair of a coalition of Latino advocacy groups meeting 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."

"People are asking for ways to express their identities," said Census Racial Statistics Branch Chief Nicholas Jones. "A combined question (race and origin) approach is more in line with how Hispanics identify and view themselves."

For more information on the Hispanic question on the U.S. Census, including recent presentations organized by the Census, click here.

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