Census Bureau

2. BACKGROUND

2.1 The Office of Management and Budget's Statistical Policy Directive No. 15 Line Divider

In response to legislative, program, and administrative needs, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued in 1977 Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, "Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting." The racial classifications set forth in the Directive are American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, and White. The ethnic classifications specified are "Hispanic origin" and "Not of Hispanic origin." The standards have been used throughout the Federal Government for two decades: in two decennial censuses, in various surveys of the population, in data collections to meet statutory requirements associated with monitoring and enforcing civil rights, and in other administrative reporting for Federal programs.1

During the past several years, the standards have come under growing criticism from those who believe that the minimum set of categories no longer reflects the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the Nation's population. In response to this and other concerns, the OMB solicited public comment on Directive No. 15 in a Federal Register notice published on June 9, 1994, and held four public hearings in July 1994. The OMB summarized the comments it received in a second Federal Register notice issued on August 28, 1995.2

The OMB established an Interagency Committee for the Review of Racial and Ethnic Standards. Its members, drawn from more than 30 agencies, represent the many and diverse federal needs for data on race and ethnicity, including needs arising from statutory requirements. The OMB Research Working Group of the Interagency Committee identified several issues requiring research and testing to determine the possible effects of suggested changes on the quality and usefulness of the resulting data. They include:

Since the review began, the Census Bureau and several other federal agencies have conducted research on these issues.3 One of these research projects was a Supplement on Race and Ethnicity to the May 1995 Current Population Survey (CPS), sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).4 Due to the different sample design and methodology in the CPS Supplement, findings from it are not directly comparable with those from the 1996 National Content Survey (NCS) or 1996 Race and Ethnic Targeted Test (RAETT).

2.2 Issues Addressed in the Race and Ethnic Targeted Test

The Census Bureau conducted extensive research, including the NCS and the RAETT, to examine issues arising from the OMB review of Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, as well as on issues resulting from evaluations of 1990 census data on race and ethnicity. The issues on race and ethnicity included in the NCS and RAETT are listed on the following page in Table 2-1.

To develop questions on race and ethnicity that address these issues, the Census Bureau implemented an extensive program of consultation and research. The consultations involved ongoing meetings and other communications with numerous data users, an expert panel of researchers, the Census Bureau's Advisory Committees, and the OMB Interagency Committee. The research included cognitive interviews, focus groups, and classroom experiments.5

Background information on issues covered in this report, which are limited to issues included in the OMB review of Directive No. 15, is discussed in the remainder of Section 2.

2.2.1 Reporting More Than One Race

Currently, Directive No. 15 does not provide a separate response category for persons who identify with more than one race. Instead, it states that these persons "should use the single category which most closely reflects the individual's recognition in his or her community."6

Table 2-1. Issues Included as Test Objectives in 1996 Census Tests

Issue 1996
National
Content
Survey (NCS)
1996
Race and Ethnic
Targeted
Test (RAETT)
     
QUESTION DESIGN    
Reporting more than one race:    
"Multiracial or biracial" category X X
More than one box approach-
   Mark one or more boxes
  X
   Mark all that apply   X
     
Combined race, Hispanic origin, and
 ancestry with
   
       "Multiracial or biracial" category   X
       Check one or more boxes   X
     
Alternative sequencing of race and
 Hispanic origin questions
   
       With "Multiracial or biracial" category X X
       Without "Multiracial or biracial" category X  
     
CATEGORIES    
Combine "Indian (Amer.) and Alaska
 Native" with space for tribal affiliation
  X
     
Native Hawaiian   X
     
TERMINOLOGY, FORMATTING, AND RELATED ISSUES    
Alphabetize Asian and Pacific Islander groups listed
 on the race question
  X
     
Spell out "American" in category
 "American Indian or Alaska Native"
  X
     
Terminology:    
     Black, African Am. or Negro* X  
     Spanish/Hispanic/Latino* X  
     Guamanian or Chamorro   X
     "Some other race" X  
*Terminology included in RAETT, but not as a test objective.

A relatively small but growing number of people have expressed concerns about having either to identify with one race or to report in the "Other race" response category in the race question, such as that included in the decennial censuses.7

Proponents for separately identifying race by reporting more than one race argue that the current Directive No. 15 requires persons of mixed racial background to deny their full heritage and perhaps even to choose between their parents. In addition, they find reporting in the "Other race" category demeaning.8 Census data indicate that the number of children in interracial families grew from less than one-half million in 1970 to about two million in 1990, indicating a growing number of people who may identify with more than one race.9 Although the "multiracial" issue is often thought of as involving primarily Blacks and Whites, children in such unions have consistently represented about one-fifth of all children in interracial families. In 1990, about 34 percent of all children in interracial families with at least one White partner were American Indian, and 45 percent were Asian. Conversely, in 1990 more than one-half of the children with at least one American Indian parent lived in families where the other parent was White, as did about 20 percent of the children with at least one Asian parent.

Opponents for reporting more than one race and some federal agencies have expressed concern that the addition of such a procedure could substantially change the counts in the current racial and ethnic categories. They fear that such changes could disrupt the historical continuity of data important to monitoring and enforcing civil rights and equal employment opportunity legislation.10 Some researchers also note that although the number of persons who currently report more than one race is small, including the option on future forms may result in a rapid increase in reporting due to a shift in racial identification similar to that experienced by the American Indian population between the 1970 and 1980 and the 1980 and 1990 decennial censuses.11 To allow some possibility for comparison to the current classifications, some agencies have emphasized the importance of having respondents who report more than one race to specify their races or indicate a primary racial identification if permitted to report more than one. From write-in entries, agencies could then develop procedures to either edit or allocate write-in entries into current OMB categories.

Two different approaches were used in the RAETT for race reporting by respondents who identify with more than one race. The first approach includes a separate "Multiracial or biracial" category with write-in lines in the race question. The second approach uses modified instructions for the race question to read "Mark one or more races" on two panels in the RAETT. On one of the panels using the second approach, the instructions to respondents were to "Mark all that apply." The second approach has the advantage of preserving detailed data about racial identification which might not be captured by a single "Multiracial or biracial" response category with write-in lines; however, race data which allow more than one response can make data capture on the form more complex. The "Multiracial or biracial" category was included in both the NCS and the RAETT. The multiple mark option appeared only in the RAETT.

To determine where best to place the separate "Multiracial or biracial" category in the race question, the Census Bureau tested two options: (1) placing the "Multiracial or biracial" category between the "Other Asian or Pacific Islander" and "Some other race" response categories; and (2) placing the "Multiracial or biracial" category after the "Some other race" response category. The results of cognitive research revealed that when the "Multiracial or biracial" category and its write-in lines were placed between the "Other Asian or Pacific Islander" and "Some other race" response categories, which also had a write-in line, some respondents found it difficult to find and distinguish the "Multiracial or biracial" category and its write-in lines. Other respondents used the write-in lines for the "Multiracial or biracial" category to provide their entry for the "Some other race" category because they were confused by the proximity of these write-in lines. Subsequent cognitive testing indicated that the placement was clearer to the respondents if the "Multiracial or biracial" category and its write-in lines were placed last, after the "Some other race" response category and its write-in line.

Several factors had to be considered in determining the number and length of write-in lines required for the "Multiracial or biracial" category. These factors included the availability of space on the census form and public perception. Cognitive research showed that when one write-in line was provided, some respondents thought they were to provide only one race group; others thought that the single write-in line was an attempt to record only one of their racial backgrounds. Too many write-in lines in the race question confused some respondents.

Cognitive interviews also showed that some respondents thought that the term "Multiracial" meant more than two races. Based on cognitive research and consultation with researchers and members of the Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees (REACs), the category was modified to read "Multiracial or biracial," to convey to respondents that the category could be used by persons who identify with two or more race groups.12

The second approach to reporting one or more race, as noted earlier, was to allow respondents to select more than one race. Some have argued that this approach has the advantage of preserving detailed data about the racial identifications which might not be captured by a single multiracial category with write-in lines. On the other hand, data collected using a question which allows for more than one response can present difficulties during data capture and analyses.

Cognitive research was used to develop instructions to the race question that would best convey to respondents that they could mark one or more than one race in the race question. Initial instructions to the race question were "Mark [X] ONE box for the race that the person considers himself/herself to be. Persons who identify with more than one race may mark more than one box and write the race they most identify with in Box A below." These instructions proved unfeasible because respondents did not understand them and had problems finding the box to which the instructions applied. In addition, some respondents expecting a separate multiracial category were disappointed that this response category was not provided. Persons who identified with more than one race also objected to the instructions to specify a single race. Two different sets of instructions for the race question with a multiple mark option were developed, each of which were tested in the RAETT. One version asks respondents to "Mark [X] one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be."13 The second instructs respondents to "Mark all that apply. Mark the race(s) that this person considers himself/herself to be."

2.2.2 Sequencing the Questions on Race and Hispanic Origin

The research on how to best sequence the race and the Hispanic origin questions addressed two persistent concerns identified in decennial census evaluations.14 First, some respondents see these questions as asking for the same information and thus do not answer one of the questions. In the 1990 census, the race and the Hispanic origin questions did not immediately follow each other. Rather the race question was placed first, followed by questions on age and marital status then by the Hispanic origin question, in an attempt to indicate that Hispanic origin represented a different subject than race. Even so, the 10 percent nonresponse rate to the Hispanic origin question was high. A study of 1990 census content reinterview data showed that most of the people who did not answer the Hispanic origin question were non-Hispanics.15

Research from the 1990 census and cognitive studies has shown that some Hispanics view themselves racially as Hispanic and do not identify with one of the specific racial categories (White, Black, etc.), or they find the race question confusing.16 In 1990, about 40 percent of Hispanics reported in the "Other race" category.

Some data users have raised concerns about whether placing the Hispanic origin question first would affect reporting for groups such as American Indians and Asians and Pacific Islanders, which include substantial proportions of persons who identify themselves as also being of Hispanic origin. Some critics have raised concerns about placing a question designed to identify only one of many ethnic populations in the Nation before one that provides racial identification for all persons.

The placement of the race and the Hispanic origin questions was tested in the NCS to replicate the earlier studies in a survey with both a large sample and a reinterview to permit evaluations of whether placing the race question immediately before the Hispanic origin question, or placing the Hispanic origin question before the race question, affects the consistency of responses to the race and to the Hispanic origin questions. The NCS also provided a test of a treatment where the race question immediately preceded the Hispanic origin question with instructions to answer both questions. Results from the NCS indicated that placing the Hispanic origin question before the race question significantly reduced nonresponse to the Hispanic origin question, and this occurred whether there was or was not a separate "Multiracial or biracial" response category. This finding was consistent with previous census research.17 In addition, the Hispanic origin first sequence did not affect nonresponse to the race question or the consistency with which race was reported.

2.2.3 Combining the Race and Hispanic Origin Questions With Ancestry Asked in a Second Part

As part of the review of Directive No.15, the Bureau of the Census included in its research and testing program for the 2000 census, a two-part, combined race, Hispanic origin, and ancestry question. Although Directive No. 15 provides the option of collecting race and Hispanic origin data using a single question, the Census Bureau has used two separate questions to collect race and Hispanic origin data to provide more complete information about the Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations. However, over the years suggestions have been made to combine the race question and the Hispanic origin question. There is considerable division on this issue.18

Census Bureau studies and other research show that some respondents, particularly Hispanics, view Hispanic origin as a race rather than an ethnic group.19 A substantial proportion of Hispanics reported as "Other" in the 1980 census and as "Other race" in the 1990 census and provided a Hispanic origin write-in to the race question. This pattern, as well as cognitive research and debriefings of Hispanic respondents, indicate that many Hispanics expect to see "Hispanic" as an option on the race question, and do not identify with any of the other categories. Other Hispanics do identify with one of the race groups, as well as with Hispanic origin, and wish to remain able to do so.

At the December 1994 meeting of the Census Bureau's Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees (REAC), the Committee on American Indians and Alaska Natives recommended a combined race and Hispanic origin question as a way of eliminating the overlap of data for persons who now report as American Indian in the race question and Hispanic in the Hispanic origin question. During the 1993 Congressional Hearings on Race and Ethnicity, the National Council of La Raza stated that combining the Hispanic origin category into the race question merited research. At these hearings, other researchers raised the possibility of a combined race, Hispanic, and ancestry item, but also said the issue should be researched. In subsequent deliberations with the OMB, the Panel of Experts, and the Census Bureau's REAC's, combining ancestry into the question was also discussed as one possible way to collect data on other ethnic groups, such as Arab Americans, Cape Verdeans, and German Americans, who have requested separate classifications in Directive No. 15.

Some Federal agencies, in accordance with the minimum requirements of Directive No. 15, already collect and report data using a combined race and Hispanic origin question. This format does not provide information on the race of Hispanic persons and may "therefore reduce the utility of the four racial categories by excluding from them persons who otherwise would be included."20 Counts of Hispanics and/or of persons in the current race categories may therefore be adversely affected in a combined format. In the May 1995 CPS Supplement on Race and Ethnicity, the BLS found that the proportion of persons reporting as Hispanic were about 20 percent lower on the panels with a combined race and Hispanic origin question than on the panels where these were two separate questions. About 50 percent of Cuban respondents and about 25 percent of "Other Spanish/Hispanic" respondents reported as White on the combined question.

A combined race and Hispanic origin question may affect the counts of race groups and of persons of Hispanic origin. Some Hispanics were concerned that they no longer would be able to select a race category if they select a Hispanic origin category. Persons who may identify mainly with a racial group but have Hispanic ancestry also object because they would have to choose only one classification. A concern of data users is that they would no longer have the overlap of race groups and of persons of Hispanic origin which provided the fullest count for each racial group and the Hispanic origin population.

Research done since 1987 suggested that placing a Hispanic origin category in the race question and adding a write-in line for ancestry may reduce the problem of nonresponse to the Hispanic origin and ancestry questions.21 The ancestry response would allow for tabulating and customizing data for "emerging ethnic" groups and for documenting the race of persons who report more than one race. Another benefit is to eliminate the overlap between race groups and Hispanic groups by having respondents choose the group with which they most closely identify as a way to minimize Hispanics selecting the "Other race" category which is not normally allowed by Directive No. 15.22

The Census Bureau used cognitive interviews to develop a combined race, Hispanic origin, and ancestry question. In the initial draft of the question, four relevant concepts were included, along with a complex instruction. The question read:

What is this person's race, ancestry, ethnic group or national origin? Mark [X] one box for the race or ethnic group with which this person most closely identifies himself/herself. Print a more specific ancestry, ethnic group or national origin in the space provided below.

The initial combined question asked respondents to state their "race," "ancestry," "ethnic group," or "national origin." Additionally, the question contained long, complex instructions. Each race or ethnic group had its own write-in space with examples. This question format, in addition to being difficult to understand by respondents, also posed a problem of space on the form. The instructions for this question proved to be overwhelming to almost all respondents, chiefly because of the mixture of concepts, the complexity of the instructions, and the cluttered format of the question.23 In subsequent versions, we found that persons understood the terms race and ancestry. Most respondents recognized the term "ethnic group" but did not distinguish it from the concept of "race." In the context of the combined question, "ethnic group" was viewed as almost completely identical to the concept of "race." "National origin" was originally included because prior research indicated that Asian and Hispanic immigrants primarily identified with their countries of origin.24 The introduction of this term created difficulties. For some respondents, the term "national origin" meant the country of birth while for others it referred to citizenship, but not place of birth. As a result, "ancestry" and "national origin" are two quite different concepts. For example, White respondents often see their "ancestry" as a European country, but their "national origin" as "America." The term "national origin" was later dropped from further testing.

The combined question on race, Hispanic origin, and ancestry in the RAETT is in two parts. Part A instructs respondents to "Mark [X] ONE box for the race or origin that this person considers himself/herself to be." After conducting cognitive research, it was determined that the phrase "race or origin" should be included in the instructions to help respondents understand the intent of the question. Early cognitive interviews contained the word "ethnic" in the instructions. However, some respondents did not understand the use of the term "ethnic," so it was deleted from the final instructions. The reference to "race" or "origin" was deemed most appropriate since the instructions for the combined question tell respondents to select the race or origin they most closely identify with from the four racial groups and Hispanic origin groups specified in Directive No. 15, along with an additional category labeled "Multiracial or biracial."25

Part B of the combined question instructs respondents to provide information on their "ancestry" or "ethnic group" and features a list of ancestry examples and two write-in lines. The major objective of Part B of the combined question was to determine if the detailed Asian and Pacific Islander and Hispanic origin groups shown in separate race and Hispanic origin questions would report in a combined format using write-in lines. Another objective was to determine if respondents to the "Multiracial or biracial" and "Some other race" response categories would provide meaningful write-ins about their racial identification. Cognitive interview participants were able to provide this information. American Indian and Black participants found the question redundant, but nonetheless were able to respond to it.

2.2.4 Terminology and Formatting Issues

One aspect of the review of Directive No. 15 is to examine terminology that racial and ethnic groups prefer when identifying themselves. Racial and ethnic identification is a social process that is changing for some proportion of each of the racial and ethnic groups identified in Directive No. 15. Evidence of these changes is illustrated in the comments and recommendations received by the OMB during its review of Directive No. 15. Suggestions to use terms in common usage for the Black, American Indian and Alaska Native, Guamanian, and Hispanic populations, along with suggestions to reclassify the Hawaiian populations, are addressed in the RAETT and are discussed below.

Black, African American, or Negro. The 1990 census used the terms "Black or Negro" in the race item. This terminology was an issue in only a few areas of the country during the 1990 Census. The Census Bureau is now using the terms "African American" and "Black"interchangeably in its news releases and other communications with the public.

The use of "African American" has increased since 1990. Some data users argue that "African American" is the more appropriate terminology and should replace "Black or Negro" in the race item for the 2000 census. Others suggest that "African American" be used along with "Black," and that the term "Negro" should be dropped.

Results from the NCS reinterviews found that "Black" is still the preferred term (45 percent). A slightly higher proportion (33 percent) of Black NCS respondents than respondents in the BLS Supplement preferred African American. A similar proportion (about 3 percent) of Black respondents preferred the term "Negro" in the NCS, the BLS Supplement, and earlier census studies. The Black respondents to the May 1995 CPS Supplement preferred the term Black (44 percent) over African American (28 percent) or Afro-American (12 percent).26 A 1991 survey conducted by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies showed that 72 percent of Black Americans preferred the term "Black," 15 percent preferred "African American," 3 percent preferred "Afro American," and 2 percent preferred "Negro." African American was least favored in the South, by older residents, and by persons who had not gone beyond high school. A 1993 study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center showed similar results.27

Cognitive research conducted by Wingerd for the Census Bureau indicated that foreign born Blacks from the Caribbean and Africa did not believe that "African American" referred to them. "Black" was more acceptable to them.28 Lavrakas, Schejbal, and Smith's study of ethno-racial terminology noted that most Blacks used "Black" to refer to their race in 1993, but the proportion had declined from earlier surveys.

As a result of earlier findings, cognitive research and consultations, two of the NCS panels and all of the RAETT panels have the category "Black, African Am., or Negro" in the race question.

Latino versus Spanish or Hispanic origin. The term "Spanish/Hispanic" has endured a lot of criticism over the years, particularly among those who view this as an imposed terminology, rather than one arising within the group it designates. Some argue that "Latino" is more appropriate and should be substituted for one or both of the "Spanish/Hispanic" terms. They contend that "Latino" may be more likely to be chosen by members of the group to which it is meant to apply and that the term is increasingly popular, particularly in California and large Midwestern and northeastern cities, such as Chicago. Advocates for the use of the term Latino suggest that it is a Spanish language term, and therefore, should be more recognizable to Hispanics. On the other hand, others argue that "Latino" is not universally acceptable. Most research show that Hispanics prefer to identify themselves using their national origin. The Census Advisory Committee on the Hispanic Origin Population recommended that the Bureau of the Census "add Latino to the Spanish/Hispanic designation" in a separate Hispanic origin question.

Results from telephone reinterviews for the NCS found that Hispanic respondents preferred the term "Hispanic," (47 percent), followed by "Spanish" (21 percent). About 19 percent of Hispanics had no preference, and another 13 percent preferred the term "Latino." However, many Hispanic respondents found the term "Latino" (68 percent) and "Spanish" (46 percent) unacceptable. Their reasons included not knowing or not having heard the term previously, and a preference for a specified Hispanic subgroup, such as Cuban, Mexican and so forth. The Hispanic respondents to the May 1995 CPS Supplement strongly preferred the term "Hispanic" (58 percent) over "Latino" or "of Spanish origin"(12 percent each).

In cognitive research, the Census Bureau tested the addition of "Latino" to the Spanish/Hispanic origin question. Respondents did not seem to have a problem with this change. In some formats, the length of the category's name makes the wording of the category awkward because it has to end using origin. In two of the NCS panels the phrase "Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" is used in the separate Hispanic origin question. In the RAETT, all of the panels have the category "Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.

Native Hawaiian. Creating a separate category for Native Hawaiians, and including it in the same category as American Indian was included among the issues, that the OMB solicited public comments on in its review of Directive No.15. A broad spectrum of Native Hawaiian groups and individuals have requested and supported the change for at least two reasons. First, they argue that Native Hawaiians, like American Indians, were the original or indigenous inhabitants of territories that the United States acquired; unlike other Asian or Pacific Islander groups, they did not immigrate to the United States. Second, they argue that separate data are needed to understand and address the distinct social, economic, and health conditions found in the Native Hawaiian population, and that these data are often lost when aggregated into the Asian or Pacific Islander category. In addition, some groups and individuals have made similar arguments concerning the indigenous people of Guam and American Samoa, and have suggested that they also should be included in any classification created for indigenous populations. Some federal legislation and programs for American Indians and/or Native Americans currently include American Indians and Alaska Natives, as well as Native Hawaiians.

Recommendations pertaining to the classification of Hawaiian have been received from two of the four Census Bureau Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees. Members of the Asian and Pacific Islander Committee recommended that a category "Native Hawaiian" be placed immediately following the Eskimo and Aleut categories in the race question, thereby deleting it from the Asian and Pacific Islander category. They also suggested that the current category "Hawaiian" be removed from the Asian and Pacific Islander category in the race question, relabeled "Native Hawaiian," and listed after the Aleut category. The members of the American Indian and Alaska Native Committee also suggested that the Bureau of the Census test the listing of Native Hawaiian as a separate race category.

The Census Bureau examined national data from the 1990 decennial census on selected demographic, social, and economic characteristics for the Hawaiian population and for the Pacific Islander population excluding Hawaiians. It also examined these characteristics for a category combining Hawaiians with American Indians and Alaska Natives. Results would probably vary for states with large concentrations of each of the groups.

The national analysis showed that Hawaiians are 3 percent of the total Asian and Pacific Islander population, but about 59 percent of the total Pacific Islander population. Removing Hawaiians from the Pacific Islander population would affect the demographic profile of this population, such that the remaining group would be a somewhat younger population, with a larger proportion of families being married couples, and a larger proportion of its members less educated with lower median households and family incomes and a larger proportion of persons and families in poverty. Table 2-2 shows selected social, demographic and economic characteristics for the combined Pacific Islander category, the category once Hawaiians are removed, and Hawaiian only characteristics.

The 1990 census data showed that Hawaiians would comprise about 9 percent of the total population of a combined American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian category. Since American Indians and Alaska Natives comprised the majority of this category, general social and economic characteristics, such as age and educational attainment, would not be affected. However, because Hawaiians have higher median family and household incomes than American Indians and Alaska Natives including Native Hawaiian in the American Indian or Alaska Native category would have a higher median household income and a higher family median income.

Table 2-2. Selected Characteristics of the Asian and Pacific Islander Population

(Data for age and type of family based on 100-percent tabulations. Remaining data based on sample)

Characteristic Total
Pacific Islander
Pacific Islander,
Hawaiian removed
Hawaiian
       Percent in selected age
         groups
     
Under 5 years 10.6 11.7 9.8
18 years and over 63.8 61.7 65.4
65 years and over 4.0 2.9 4.8
       Percent of families      
Married couple 73.0 75.7 71.2
Female householder 19.4 16.5 21.3
Male householder 7.7 7.8 7.5
       Percent, Educational
         attainment of persons
         25 years and over
     
High school or more 76.1 70.9 79.5
Bachelor's degree or more 10.8 9.1 11.9
       Income and poverty in 1989
         dollars
     
Median household $31,980 $27,140 $34,830
Median family $10,340 $8,780 $11,450
Percent of persons in poverty 16.1 20.4 13.9
Source: Edward Fernandez, "Comparisons of Selected Social and Economic Characteristics Between Asians, Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians (Including Alaska Natives)," Population Division Working Paper No. 15, 1996.

The term "Native Hawaiian" was tested in the RAETT, which was designed to provide information on relatively small population groups. The term "Native Hawaiian" appears in Panels D and G in the RAETT and it was included immediately after the category for American Indian or Alaska Native. The RAETT telephone reinterview included preference questions regarding this term.

Guamanian or Chamorro. The Census Bureau conducted cognitive interviews with persons who identify with the territory of Guam to determine the most appropriate term to be used in the RAETT. Both Chamorro and Guamanian were determined to be acceptable terms. Recently, "Chamorro" has become more preferable to some, much like "African American" has in the Black population. The cognitive research indicated that some preferred "Guamanian" and others "Chamorro." Younger and more educated respondents preferred "Chamorro" and older respondents preferred "Guamanian."

The term "Guamanian or Chamorro" was tested in Panels D and G in the RAETT. It was not tested on the NCS.

American Indian or Alaska Native Category. The Census Advisory Committee on the American Indian and Alaska Native Populations recommended using a combined category "Indian (Amer.) or Alaska Native" with the instruction to "Print the name of the enrolled or principal tribe." The Committee concluded that using such a format would enable the Bureau of the Census to capture the different Eskimo and Aleut tribes (e.g., Inupiats, Yupiks, etc.) as well as American Indian tribes. Alaska Native and State officials requested separate counts of the Eskimo tribes to complete the State's redistricting plan in 1990, but they could not be obtained from the 1990 race question.

In 1995, the Census Bureau conducted a small test of a combined "Indian (Amer.) or Alaska Native" category to determine if reliable data on American Indian and Alaska Native tribes could be captured. Results indicated that respondents do provide write-ins of American Indian or Alaska Native tribes. However, these data also suggest that respondents will use the write-in line to provide data other than for tribe, such as their racial or Hispanic identity.

Cognitive research was conducted with American Indians and Alaska Natives in selected areas, such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Fairbanks, Alaska. Results indicated that the term "enrolled" was generally understood because of the requirement for Alaska Natives enrollment in Regional Corporations, but some noted that this does not necessarily reflect ethnicity. Concerns were expressed that less than full-blooded American Indians might feel they would have to report as non-Indian, and also that some persons identify with more than one tribe.

The RAETT tested a combined "Indian (Amer.) or Alaska Native" category in seven of the eight panels. The objective was to determine if American Indian tribal enrollment and Alaska Native tribes could be captured on the same write-in line.

American Indian. Past research has shown that the use of "American" in any category for the race question or Hispanic origin question may attract misreporting by persons who want to emphasize that they or their children are Americans. However, members of the Census Bureau Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees, as well as other data users, have requested that the term "American Indian" be considered as an alternative to the 1990 abbreviated version, "Indian (Amer.)." For this reason the term "American Indian" was included in one panel of the RAETT.

Alphabetization of the Asian and Pacific Islander Subgroups. The Census Bureau's Asian and Pacific Islander Advisory Committee recommended that the current list of Asian and Pacific Islander subgroups be alphabetized to assist respondents in finding their specific subgroup. This recommendation was implemented in Panel G of the RAETT.

Table 2-3 lists issues tested and indicates where results are discussed in the report.

Table 2-3. Summary of Issues Covered in the RAETT

ISSUE Panels tested
   
Multiracial:  
       Separate category B
       Mark one or more C
       Mark all that apply H
   
Combined race and Hispanic origin
 question with ancestry asked in a
 second part
E,F
       With multiracial category E
       With mark one or more F
   
Alternative sequencing of
 race and Hispanic origin
 question
D
   
Terminology:  
       Native Hawaiian G
       Guamanian or Chamarro D
   
Formatting:  
       Combined Indian (Amer.)
         and Alaska Native
B through H
       Spelling out of "American" D
       Alphabetization of Asian
         and Pacific Islander category
D

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1The decennial census collects greater detail on race and ethnicity than the Directive No. 15 categories; but, as required by the Directive, the detail can be combined into the standard categories.

2"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol. 59, No. 123 (59FR 29831-35), Office of Management and Budget, Thursday, June 9, 1994, pages 29831-29835.

"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 166 (60FR 44674-93), Office of Management and Budget, Monday, August 28, 1995, pages 44674-44693.

3"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 166 (60FR 44674-93), Office of Management and Budget, Monday, August 28, 1995, pages 44674-44693.

4Clyde Tucker, Ruth McKay, Brian Kojetin, Roderick Harrison, Manuel de la Puente, Linda Stinson, and Ed Robison, "Testing Methods of Collecting Racial and Ethnic Information: Results of the Current Population Survey Supplement on Race and Ethnicity," Statistical Note Series, Number 40, Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 1996.

5Eleanor Gerber and Manuel de la Puente, "The Development and Cognitive Testing of Race and Ethnic Origin Questions for the Year 2000 Decennial Census," Paper presented at the Census Bureau's Annual Research Conference, Arlington, VA, March 1996.

6"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 166 (60FR 44674-93), Office of Management and Budget, Monday, August 28, 1995, pages 44674-44693.

7The Census Bureau has an exemption from the Office of Management and Budget to use the "Other race" category.

8"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol 60, No. 166 (60FR 44674-93), Office of Management and Budget, Monday, August 28, 1995, pages 44674-44693.

9Claudette Bennett, Nampeo McKenney, and Roderick Harrison, "Racial Classification Issues Concerning Children in Mixed-Race Households," Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, San Francisco, CA, April 1995.

10"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity", Federal Register, Vol. 59, No. 123 (59FR 29831-35), Office of Management and Budget, Thursday, June 9, 1994, pages 29831-29835.

11"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 166 (60FR 44674-93), Office of Management and Budget, Monday, August 28, 1995, pages 44674-44693.

12Eleanor Gerber and Manuel de la Puente, "The Development and Cognitive Testing of Race and Ethnic Origin Questions for the Year 2000 Decennial Census," Paper presented at the Bureau of the Census Annual Research Conference, Arlington, VA, March 17-19, 1996.

13There were minor wording changes to the instructions when the combined race, Hispanic origin, and ancestry question was tested. The instructions to the race question were changed to say, "Mark [X] one or more boxes to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be."

14Nampeo McKenney and Arthur Cresce, "Identification of Ethnicity in the United States: The Census Bureau Experience," Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Toronto, Canada, May 1990.

15Nampeo McKenney, Claudette Bennett, Roderick Harrison, and Jorge del Pinal, "Evaluating Racial and Ethnic Reporting in the 1990 Census," Paper presented at the Joint Statistical Meeting of the American Statistical Association, San Francisco, CA, August 1993.

16Manuel de la Puente and Ruth McKay, "Research Improves Questions," Civil Rights Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1995.

Manuel de la Puente and Ruth McKay, "Developing and Testing Race and Ethnic Origin Questions from the Current Population Survey Supplement on Race and Ethnic Origin," Proceedings of the 1994 Annual Meeting of the American Statistical Association: Section on Survey Research Methods, Vol. I, 1995.

17Nancy E. Bates, Elizabeth A. Martin, Theresa J. DeMaio, and Manuel de la Puente, "Questionnaire Effects on Measurements of Race and Spanish Origin," Journal of Official Statistics, Vol. 11, pages 433-459, 1996.

18"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 166 (60FR 44674-93), Office of Management and Budget, Monday, August 28, 1995, pages 44674-44693.

19Clara E. Rodriguez, "Challenges and Emerging Issues: Race and Ethnic Identity Among Latinos," Proceedings from Workshop on Race and Ethnicity Classification: An Assessment of the Federal Standards for Race and Ethnicity Classification. Committee on National Statistics, National Academy of Science, February 17-18,1994; Ruth McKay and Manuel de la Puente, "Research Improves Questions," Civil Rights Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1995; Manuel de la Puente and Ruth McKay, "Developing and Testing Race and Ethnic Origin Questions from the Current Population Survey Supplement on Race and Ethnic Origin," Proceedings of the 1994 Annual Meeting of the American Statistical Association: Section on Survey Research Methods, Vol. 1, 1995.

20"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 166 (60FR 44674-93), Office of Management and Budget, Monday, August 28, 1995, pages 44674-44693.

21"Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 166 (60FR 44674-93), Office of Management and Budget, Monday, August 28, 1995, pages 44679.

22Jorge del Pinal and Susan J. Lapham, "Impact of Ethnic Data Needs in the United States, Challenges of Measuring an Ethnic World: Science, Politics, and Reality," Proceedings of the Joint Canada-United States Conference on the Measurement of Ethnicity, April 1-3, 1992, Ottawa, Canada, pages 447-475.

23For more details on the aspects of the combined question see Gerber and de la Puente (1996).

24Ruth McKay and Manuel de la Puente, "Cognitive Research in Designing the CPS Supplement on Race and Ethnicity," Paper presented at the Bureau of the Census 1994 Annual Research Conference, Arlington (Rosslyn), VA, March 19-23, 1995.

25The final question also has a category, "Some other race," for respondents who do not identify with any of the categories offered. This is consistent with the categories used in the 1990 census race question.

26Clyde Tucker, Ruth McKay, Brian Kojetin, Roderick Harrison, Manuel de la Puente, Linda Stinson, and Ed Robison, "Testing Methods of Collecting Racial and Ethnic Information: Results of the Current Population Survey Supplement on Race and Ethnicity," Statistical Note Series, No. 40, Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 1996.

27Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies 1992. Annual Report, Washington, DC; Paul Lavraskas, Judith A. Schejbal and Tom Smith, "The Use and Perception of Ethno-Racial Labels: "African-American" and/or "Black," Paper presented at the Bureau of the Census, 1994 Annual Research Conference and CASIC Technologies Interchange. Arlington (Rosslyn), VA, March 20-23, 1994.

28Judith Wingerd, "Urban Haitians: Documented/Undocumented in a Mixed Neighborhood" Ethnographic Evaluation of the 1990 Census, Report No. 7, Final Report for Joint Statistical Agreement 90-10.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division and
Decennial Statistical Studies Division

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Last Revised: October 31, 2011 at 10:03:11 PM