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CHICLA 330: Gentrification In Latinx Comm. (Spring 2022) : Race & Hispanic Origin

Information about and links to library resources helpful for CHICLA 330: Gentrification in Latinx Communities. Emphasis on retrieving Census data.

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.

Website: U.S. Census Bureau Guidance on the Presentation and Comparison of Race and Hispanic Origin Data

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."

The About section linked to the page on Hispanic Origin provides more details on specific Hispanic origin groups in the Census, and products with data on Hispanic origin

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.

Currently, the Census recognizes the following racial categories ((From the Race site's About This Topic page):

  • 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

Multiracial Individuals
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 and 2020 Censuses. 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.