Thursday, August 09, 2012

Other Race

"Other race" is the third largest racial group in the United States (behind only white and black), according to 2010 census results. Meant to be a small residual category, the public's confusion over the difference between race (Asian, black, white) and ethnicity (Hispanic) has turned it into one of the biggest racial categories. Who are these people of other race? The vast majority are Hispanics who check "other" in the census race question (because they do not see a Hispanic/Latino category) before moving on to the separate Hispanic origin question.

In taking the 2010 census, the Census Bureau fielded an alternative questionnaire to test a combined race and Hispanic origin question. The results are in, showing that the combined question works much better than separate race and Hispanic origin questions, reducing the other-race category to just 0.2 percent of the population--the residual it was meant to be. In contrast, with separate questions, fully 7.1 percent of the population checked other race. Expect a combined race and Hispanic origin question on the 2020 census.

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