Skip to main content

Does your race change? For 10 million census respondents it did

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A new study of census data finds 10 million Americans answered questions about their racial identity differently in 2010 than they had a decade earlier.

University of Minnesota sociologist Carolyn Liebler, who co-authored the study, tells Pew Research Center that Americans of every race and ethnic group changed their responses, but Hispanics were most likely to answer differently.

People of mixed race, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders were also among those most likely to change their answers, Pew says.

Why did people change their race from one census to the next? Researchers say there's no easy answer but offered a few possibilities.

Liebler tells Pew that some of those who changed categories were children in 2000. She theorizes that a parent may have filled out the form that year and the respondent identified with a different race or ethnic group when compiling their own form ten years later.

Others think the most likely explanation for the change is that respondents are confused by the Census Bureau's questions, which ask separately about race and ethnicity.

Former Census Director Kenneth Prewitt wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times last year calling for an overhaul of the census' questions about race. He called the designation of Hispanic as an ethnicity "particularly tortured."

But some Latino civil rights groups and a number of scholars are not comfortable with making Hispanic a racial category instead of an ethnic one, noting it would do away with check-off boxes for national origin such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican.

The director of the National Institute for Latino Policy told Voxxi last year “There is no unanimity on what any of this stuff means.”

Pew Research Center reported in March that the Census Bureau is considering changes to its questions on race, particularly since more than 6 percent of 2010 respondents listed themselves only as "some other race."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-09-28 at 3.36.57 PM

Scott County attorney candidates differ on marijuana possession

Scott County is one of a few Minnesota counties where the incumbent prosecutor is facing a challenger in November.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Teen charged in shooting outside of Richfield football game

Due to the age of the suspect, the case won't be made public.

Screen Shot 2020-02-06 at 9.05.08 AM

Twin Cities Summer Jam no more: popular festival brought to an end

The festival noted how the land they host camping on has recently been sold.

image

Expect major traffic delays on Renaissance Festival's final weekend

Scott County officials said road closures will be to blame.

Voting survey vote election

Ramsey County sends out ballots with deceased candidate on it

The county said it's addressing the issue with the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Screen Shot 2022-09-28 at 12.30.28 PM

New haunted house experience coming to Inver Grove Heights

The exhibit will feature family-friendly and 18+ events.

Wayzata High School

Niche rankings identify best Minnesota schools, districts

Eden Prairie has schools ranked in both the private and public categories.

unnamed

Walker, The Current announce end of Rock the Garden festival

The Walker Art Center and Minnesota Public Radio announced the festival will retire so the organizations can dream up new events.

Related