Think race and ethnicity are permanent? Think again

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-14 17:26Z by Steven

Think race and ethnicity are permanent? Think again

N-IUSSP: IUSSP’s online news magazine
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
2017-06-26

Editorial Committee

Add something else to the list of things that seem simple but are actually complicated – the way someone reports their race or ethnicity. In a recently-published research article (Liebler et al. 2017), we used a large, unique linked dataset from two U.S. Censuses (2000 and 2010) to study who had the same race/ethnicity response in both years and whose response changed from one year to the next. With over 160 million cases covering all U.S. race and ethnicity groups we found that 6.1% of people in the (not-nationally-representative) data had a different race or ethnic response in 2010 than they did in 2000.

These response changes represent changes between the federally-defined major race groups (multiple responses allowed in both years): white, black or African American (“black” here), American Indian or Alaska Native (“American Indian”), Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (“Pacific Islander”), or the residual category of Some Other Race. Or they were changes between the two defined ethnicity groups: Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino (“Hispanic” and “non-Hispanic”).We used strict case selection to assure that responses were given by the person or a household member (not allocated, imputed, gathered from a potentially unreliable source, or signaling an incorrect match)…

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America’s Churning Races: Race and Ethnicity Response Changes Between Census 2000 and the 2010 Census

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-14 16:58Z by Steven

America’s Churning Races: Race and Ethnicity Response Changes Between Census 2000 and the 2010 Census

Demography
February 2017, Volume 54, Issue 1
pages 259–284
DOI: 10.1007/s13524-016-0544-0

Carolyn A. Liebler, Professor of Sociology
University of Minnesota

Sonya R. Porter
Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications
U.S. Census Bureau, Suitland, Maryland

Leticia E. Fernandez
Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications
U.S. Census Bureau, Suitland, Maryland

James M. Noon, Survey Statistician
Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications
U.S. Census Bureau, Suitland, Maryland

Sharon R. Ennis, Statistician
Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications
U.S. Census Bureau, Suitland, Maryland

A person’s racial or ethnic self-identification can change over time and across contexts, which is a component of population change not usually considered in studies that use race and ethnicity as variables. To facilitate incorporation of this aspect of population change, we show patterns and directions of individual-level race and Hispanic response change throughout the United States and among all federally recognized race/ethnic groups. We use internal U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2000 and 2010 censuses in which responses have been linked at the individual level (N = 162 million). Approximately 9.8 million people (6.1%) in our data have a different race and/or Hispanic-origin response in 2010 than they did in 2000. Race response change was especially common among those reported as American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander, in a multiple-race response group, or Hispanic. People reported as non-Hispanic white, black, or Asian in 2000 usually had the same response in 2010 (3%, 6%, and 9% of responses changed, respectively). Hispanic/non-Hispanic ethnicity responses were also usually consistent (13% and 1%, respectively, changed). We found a variety of response change patterns, which we detail. In many race/Hispanic response groups, we see population churn in the form of large countervailing flows of response changes that are hidden in cross-sectional data. We find that response changes happen across ages, sexes, regions, and response modes, with interesting variation across racial/ethnic categories. Researchers should address the implications of race and Hispanic-origin response change when designing analyses and interpreting results.

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One metric shows that race in America is about to experience a dramatic shift

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-27 13:53Z by Steven

One metric shows that race in America is about to experience a dramatic shift

Quartz
2017-06-27

Dan Kopf, Reporter
San Francisco, California


Feel the demographic change. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

The demographics of the United States are changing quickly, and there is no simpler way to understand that than to look at the most common age of each race and ethnic group.

The US Census Bureau recently released its estimates of the US population as of July 2016. Besides an estimate of the total population (325 million), the census also includes estimates of the number of people of every age within each race and ethnicity. For example, the census estimates that, as of July 2016, there were 976,288 Hispanic 15-year-olds in the country.

Jed Kolko, chief economist of jobs site Indeed, combed through this data and came away with a fascinating insight. He discovered huge variation in the most common age—more technically, the mode—between each major racial group in the US…

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The Head of the Census Resigned. It Could Be as Serious as James Comey

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-05-14 19:20Z by Steven

The Head of the Census Resigned. It Could Be as Serious as James Comey

TIME
2017-05-12

Haley Sweetland Edwards


John Thompson, Director, U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau

In a week dominated by President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, you could be forgiven for missing the imminent departure of another, less prominent federal official.

Yet the news this week that John H. Thompson, the director of the Census Bureau, has abruptly resigned is arguably as consequential to the future of our democracy. That’s because the Census Bureau, while less flashy than the FBI, plays a staggeringly important role in both U.S. elections and an array of state and federal government functions.

“At the very heart of the Census is nothing less than political power and money,” said Terri Ann Lowenthal, who served as the staff director of the House census oversight subcommittee before becoming a consultant on census policy and operational issues. “It is the basis, the very foundation, of our democracy and the Constitution’s promise of equal representation.”

The results of the decennial Census—the next will be in 2020—will determine how state and federal political districts are drawn; which Americans are “counted” for representation; and how federal dollars, many of which are allocated on a per capita basis, are spent…

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Departure of U.S. Census director threatens 2020 count

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-05-11 02:01Z by Steven

Departure of U.S. Census director threatens 2020 count

Science
2017-05-09

Jeffrey Mervis


John Thompson will leave the Census Bureau on 30 June. U.S. Census Bureau

John Thompson is stepping down next month as director of the U.S. Census Bureau. His announcement today comes less than 1 week after a congressional spending panel grilled him about mounting problems facing the agency in preparing for the 2020 decennial census. And Thompson’s pending retirement is weighing heavily on the U.S. statistical community.

Thompson is leaving halfway through a 1-year extension of a term that expired last December. His departure will create what a 2011 law was expressly designed to avoid—a leadership vacuum during a crucial time in the 10-year life cycle of the census, the nation’s largest civilian undertaking. The immediate concern is who the Trump administration will appoint, and how soon it will act…

Ken Prewitt, who led the agency from 1998 to 2001, worries that a long delay in naming a well-qualified replacement for Thompson could be the first step of a long, steep decline in the quality of the federal statistic system, which spans 13 agencies. “That system is fragile, and it wouldn’t take much to damage it severely,” says Prewitt, a professor of social affairs at Columbia University. “My real fear is that they don’t care enough to do a good job with the 2020 census. And then after doing a bad job, they decide to let the private sector take over.”…

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Seeking better data on Hispanics, Census Bureau may change how it asks about race

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-04-30 01:56Z by Steven

Seeking better data on Hispanics, Census Bureau may change how it asks about race

Pew Research Center
2017-04-20

D’Vera Cohn, Senior Writer/Editor

Federal officials are considering major changes in how they ask Americans about their race and ethnicity, with the goal of producing more accurate and reliable data in the 2020 census and beyond. Recently released Census Bureau research underscores an important reason why: Many Hispanics, who are the nation’s largest minority group, do not identify with the current racial categories.

Census officials say this is a problem because in order to obtain good data, they need to make sure people can match themselves to the choices they are offered. Census data on race and Hispanic origin are used to redraw congressional district boundaries and enforce voting and other civil rights laws, as well as in a wide variety of research, including Pew Research Center studies…

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I’m a bit brown. But in America I’m white. Not for much longer

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-03-22 13:05Z by Steven

I’m a bit brown. But in America I’m white. Not for much longer

The Guardian
2017-03-21

Arwa Mahdawi


Colour coded … a large number of US citizens will have to check a new box on the census form if plans to redefine whiteness come to fruition. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The US Census Bureau plans to redefine ‘white’ to exclude people with Middle Eastern and North African origins. It’s a reminder that the identity has always been fluid

We live in a weird time for whiteness. But, before I get into that, a small disclaimer. You may look at my name and worry that I am unqualified to speak about whiteness; I would like to set these doubts to rest and assure you that I myself am a white person. It’s true that, technically speaking, I’m a bit brown but, when it comes to my legal standing, I’m all white. Well, I’m white in America anyway. The US Census Bureau, you see, defines “white” as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa”. Being half-Palestinian and half-English I fall squarely into that box.

But I may not be able to hang out in that box much longer. There are plans afoot to add a new “Middle East/North Africa” category to the US census. After 70-plus years of having to tick “white” or “other” on administrative documents, people originating from the Middle East and North Africa may soon have their own category.

Whether our very own check box is a privilege or petrifying is still to be decided. Middle Easterners aren’t exactly persona particularly grata in the US right now. Identifying ourselves more explicitly to the government might not be the smartest move – particularly considering that, during the second world war, the US government used census data to send more than 100,000 Japanese Americans to internment camps

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A Demographic Threat? Proposed Reclassification of Arab Americans on the 2020 Census

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-13 18:11Z by Steven

A Demographic Threat? Proposed Reclassification of Arab Americans on the 2020 Census

Michigan Law Review (Online)
Volume 114, Issue 1 (August 2015)
8 pages

Khaled A. Beydoun, Associate Professor of Law
Mercy School of Law
University of Detroit

INTRODUCTION

Arab Americans are white?” This question—commonly posed as a demonstration of shock or surprise—highlights the dissonance between how “Arab” and “white” are discursively imagined and understood in the United States today.

These four words also encapsulate the dilemma that currently riddles Arab Americans. The population finds itself interlocked between formal classification as white, and de facto recognition as nonwhite. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the government agency that oversees the definition, categorization, and construction of racial categories, currently counts people from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as white. The United States Census Bureau (Census Bureau), the agency responsible for collecting and compiling demographic data about the American people, adopts these definitions and classifications for the administration of its decennial census. Since the racially restrictive “Naturalization Era,” Arab Americans have been legally classified as white.

Within the context of the pronounced and protracted “War on Terror,” the OMB and Census Bureau may be the only two government entities that still identify Arab Americans as white. Heightening state surveillance of Arab Americans, combined with still escalating societal animus, manifests a shared public and private view of the population as not only nonwhites, but also “others,” “terrorists,” and “radicals.”

Although not a new phenomenon, the association of Arab American identity with subversion, warmongering, and terrorism intensified after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Fourteen years later, broadening antiterror policing coupled with emergent “preventative counter-terrorism” initiatives, or Countering Violent Extremist (CVE) policing, signals that suspicion of Arab American identity is still trending upward. And perhaps, is yet to reach its apex.

This Essay argues that the establishment of a standalone MENA American box on the next U.S. Census may erode Arab American civil liberties by augmenting the precision of government surveillance and monitoring programs. The proposed reclassification of Arab American identity is not simply a moment of racial progress but, I argue, a mechanism that evidences the state’s interest in obtaining more accurate “macro and micro demographic data” about Arab Americans. By illuminating the causal state interests facilitating reform and reclassification, I highlight how more precise and extensive demographic data—collected and compiled with a MENA American box on the U.S. Census form—expands the reach of federal and local antiterror and counter-radicalization policing amid the fluid yet evermore fierce War on Terror…

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For Some Americans Of MENA Descent, Checking A Census Box Is Complicated

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-03-11 20:18Z by Steven

For Some Americans Of MENA Descent, Checking A Census Box Is Complicated

Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed
National Public Radio
2017-03-11

Kat Chow


For years, advocates have pushed the Census Bureau for a box for people of Middle Eastern or North African descent. Now, the bureau recommends one. Some worry the data may be misused in surveillance.
Chelsea Beck/NPR

When Atoosa Moinzadeh filled out past census forms, she found herself in a racial identification conundrum. Moinzadeh identifies as Iranian American. But the census forms don’t have a box for Iranian American. The closest she could come to identifying herself the way she wanted was to choose the box for “white,” which had “Middle East” listed as an example.

That wasn’t quite right for her.

“I’ve always identified as not white, and so the expectation to check off ‘white’ on forms has never felt accurate to me,” Moinzadeh said. She has brown skin and grew up in a white neighborhood in a Seattle suburb. Like many other people of Middle Eastern or North African descent, the world did not treat Moinzadeh as white. And so, on past census forms, Moinzadeh would select the box for “other” and write in “Iranian American.”…

Now, after years of advocacy groups pressuring the U.S. Census Bureau to create a separate geographic category for people of Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) descent, the bureau is recommending that MENA be added to the 2020 census. That could mean that the approximately 3.7 million Arab-Americans in the U.S. might have their own box to check off.

Collecting accurate demographic information is crucial, especially for ethnic minority communities, since data gleaned from census forms affects funding for services such as voter protections or English as a second language programs in schools, and also is included in research on topics like housing discrimination. And in 2015, when the bureau tested potential new categories, including MENA, it found that people of Middle Eastern or North African descent would check off the MENA box when it was available; when it wasn’t, they’d select white.

But with policies and political rhetoric that are anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim, some worry the MENA census category might be used against the very people it’s supposed to include. “The downside is concerns about misuse of this data and how it could be used by the government in a time of national crisis,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Concerns like these have been around for almost as long…

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The 2020 Census and the Re-Indigenization of America

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-07-03 02:31Z by Steven

The 2020 Census and the Re-Indigenization of America

Truthout
2016-06-26

Roberto Rodriguez
Mexican American & Raza Studies Department
University of Arizona

As the 2020 US census looms, this arcane ritual will once again result in the painting of a false picture of the demographic makeup of the United States. While the nation has been getting “browner” for many decades, the US Census Bureau has actually been complicit in obfuscating this change, which I have long described as demographic genocide. Yet this time around, due to a long-overdue change in the census, rather than being corralled against their will into the “white” category, many Mexican, Central American, Andean and Caribbean peoples will no longer be checking the white racial box.

Countering the delusions of previous generations, we know that simply checking the white box has never meant being treated as white anyway. This time around, per this change, many of us will instead (again) be checking the American Indian box, while rejecting the bureaucratically imposed Hispanic/Latino box. Others will check and affirm both.

This change however, will not alter the historic de-Indigenization schemes of this society, including those of the Census Bureau, which has always been an ideological instrument of empire. The census does not just count people, but actually helps to shape the nation’s self-image, character and national narrative. It helps tell the world “who we are” — who the United States is.

And just precisely who or what is the United States supposed to be? God’s chosen people?…

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