|Articles, Census/Demographics, New Media, United States on 2013-11-04 18:49Z by Steven|
As the nation becomes more multiracial, some question whether the survey can accurately reflect the country’s true diversity.
Editor’s note: This is the first of three in a series.
(The Root) — In 30 years, America will look very different than it does now. According to analysis of census data, by 2043 white Americans will no longer be a majority. But an equally significant population milestone will arrive in 2020. That is the year in which the next census takes place, and it will be the first one tasked with successfully chronicling the most racially and culturally mixed population in American history.
Governing the nation at the very time the census is grappling with this issue is the country’s first biracial president. Though President Obama has said he identifies as black on the census, there is a growing population of people who may share a similar background but do not wish to identify as he has chosen to. Helping to ensure that these Americans are adequately and accurately counted through his administration’s efforts to perfect a modern census could end up being a significant part of the Obama legacy.
Multiracial Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the country, yet the U.S. Census Bureau has struggled with how to effectively capture the changing racial makeup of America. In his new book What Is Your Race: The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans, Kenneth Prewitt takes the census to task for its many shortcomings when it comes to painting an accurate portrait of America’s racial and cultural landscape. Prewitt, though, is not just any run-of-the-mill critic. He is a former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, where he served from 1998 to 2001.
In an interview with The Root, Prewitt explained that America is unique in its racial categorization and its reasons for categorizing. “We decided why we wanted racial statistics and the purpose of them, and then designed statistics to accomplish those purposes.”…
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