Measuring Race And Ethnicity Across The Decades: 1790-2010

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-05 02:44Z by Steven

Measuring Race And Ethnicity Across The Decades: 1790-2010

Random Samplings: The official blog of the U.S. Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau

Beverly M. Pratt
Population Division

Lindsay Hixson
Population Division

Nicholas A. Jones
Population Division

Over the years, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected information on race and ethnicity. The census form has always reflected changes in society, and shifts have occurred in the way the Census Bureau classifies race and ethnicity. Historically, the changes have been influenced by social, political and economic factors including emancipation, immigration and civil rights. Today, the Census Bureau collects race and ethnic data according to U.S. Office of Management and Budget guidelines, and these data are based on self-identification.

A new interactive visualization released today shows how race and ethnicity categories have changed over time since the first census in 1790. This allows us to better understand the relationship between historical classifications and the present time. A static version of this same visualization was presented in April 2015 at the Population Association of America’s annual meeting.

We created this interactive timeline to establish a starting point for the public — including community stakeholders, academics and data users — to understand how race and ethnicity categories have changed over 220 years in the decennial census. This understanding is important as we interpret results from the 2010 Census Race and Hispanic Origin Alternative Questionnaire Experiment and the current middecade testing of race and ethnicity questions, including the 2015 National Content Test. The National Content Test will inform design changes for collecting data on race and ethnicity in the 2020 Census and other ongoing demographic and economic surveys conducted by the Census Bureau.

Read the entire article here. View the infographic here.

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