CHICLA 330: Gentrification In Latinx Comm. (Spring 2021) : Race & Hispanic Origin
Race and Hispanic Origin: Separate Items
The Census has always asked questions about race, in some form or another (in the early censuses, the questions were in terms of slavery/free status).
In the 1970 Census, a sample of the respondents were asked whether they were of Hispanic origin. Beginning in 1980 the question of Hispanic origin was asked of all people.
Race and Hispanic origin are considered separate items.
- People who are Hispanic may be of any race.
- People in each race group may be either Hispanic or Not Hispanic.
- Each person has two attributes, their race (or races) and whether or not they are Hispanic.
This is different than a person being more than one race. The Census started allowing people to say they were more than one race in the 2000 Decennial Census.
More About Hispanic Origin
Main Census page on Hispanic Origin
According to the above page, "origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race."
More About Race
Main Census page on Race.
The way the Census has defined and asked about race has changed over the years. Check the documentation in the data product you're using, or see the Census Bureau's Index of Questions.
- White – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa
- Black or African American – A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa
- American Indian or Alaska Native – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment
- Asian – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands
Census 2000 was the first time individuals were presented with the option to self-identify with more than one race. This continued in the 2010 Census. People who identify with more than one race may choose to provide multiple races in response to the race question. (From the Race site's About This Topic page.)
Why This Matters
Just like in U.S. society, how the Census has defined race and Hispanic origin, and what the Census has measured, have changed from decade to decade.