Tags: pew research | census bureau | questions | race | origin

Pew: Census Bureau May Ask 'Race,' 'Origin' Questions Less Directly

By    |   Thursday, 18 Jun 2015 07:43 PM

The Census Bureau is looking at new ways to ask Americans about their race or origin in the 2020 census — including not using the words "race" or "origin" at all — but instead letting people check "categories" that describe them, including by regions, Pew Research Center reports.

Pew reports in test-census forms to be sent to 1.2 million households in the fall, the bureau will test the impact of alternative question wording that drops all mention of "race" or "origin" and asks: "Which categories describe person 1?"

People then can choose from the list of races and origins. The test also will experiment with adding a new Middle East and North Africa category, Pew reports.

"We recognize that race and ethnicity are not quantifiable values," the bureau said in a 2013 report.

"Rather, identity is a complex mix of one’s family and social environment, historical or socio-political constructs, personal experience, context and many other immeasurable factors."

The bureau’s Federal Register notice last month invited comments on the proposed test, and there was positive feedback at the March meeting of its National Advisory Committee of outside experts, the International Business Times reports.

"I’m very happy that they are going to test a question which gets away from the language of race and ethnicity because frankly that is just a quagmire, that language," commented Ann Morning, an advisory committee member and New York University race scholar, IBTimes reports. "No two people seem to be able to agree on what those terms mean."

Morning told the IBTimes she believes "the beauty of simply referring to ‘categories’ is that it avoids that problem of people getting hung up on the terminology. So I would expect this term will allow people to answer the question more quickly, and to feel more free to check more than one box if they wish, and to lead to a lower non-response rate on that question."

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The Census Bureau is looking at new ways to ask Americans about their race or origin in the 2020 census - including not using the words "race" or "origin" at all - but instead letting people check "categories" that describe them, including by regions, Pew Research Center.
pew research, census bureau, questions, race, origin
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2015-43-18
Thursday, 18 Jun 2015 07:43 PM
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