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1870, 1880: The flow of migrants from China began to rise prior to the 1870 Census constituting the first wave of non-European immigrants since the end of the slave trade.

This was the first use of a national origin category, along with color and race. Identical racial categories were used to collect data on the “color” of the U.S. population for the 1880 Census.
1890: The 1890 Census represented the first attempt to enumerate all American Indians, regardless of where they lived. However, those considered “not taxed” were still excluded from the apportionment counts.

Pressure to further assess race science theories heightened, resulting in Congress mandating the introduction of supplementary “Black blood” quantum categories, “Quadroon” and “Octoroon,” for the 1890 Census.

High demand for economical labor generated increased migration from Japan.
1910: The 1910 Census resurrected the attempt to measure “Black blood” quantum by including “Mulatto” as a racial category.

For the first time, the category of “Other” was used to collect data on race during the 1910 Census enumeration.
1930: For the 1930 Census, “Mexican” was introduced as a category. Prior to the 1930 Census, Mexicans had been categorized as White. 1950: The number of separate racial categories was actually reduced in the 1950 Census. “Korean” and “Hindu” were omitted as separate categories. The term “Indian” was changed to “American Indian” in order to distinguish American Indians from those with origins in India. 1970: The White House instructed the Secretary of Commerce to add a Hispanic self-identification question to the 1970 Census form. The question asked, “Is this person’s origin or descent –.” The response categories used were “Mexican,” “Puerto Rican,” “Cuban,” “Central or South American,” “Other Spanish,” and “No, none of these.” As the largest estimated Hispanic populations in the United States at the time, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban origins were separately identified.

Increased immigration from Korea influenced the return of that category to the 1970 Census race question.

The “Negro” category now included the term “Black,” which proponents linked to the ethnic pride that flourished as a result of the Civil Rights Movement.

Additionally, the “American Indian” category was changed to “Indian (Amer.)” to reduce the number of respondents erroneously selecting this category because they identified with the term “American.”
1990: In 1990, for the Hispanic origin question, a list of examples and a write-in line were introduced: “Print one group, for example, Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on.”

To address the issue of aiding new immigrants when reporting their race, a revised list of examples was added to the race question instruction, which appeared near the “Other API” write-in line. “Hmong,” “Fijian,” “Laotian,” “Thai,” “Tongan,” “Pakistani,” and “Cambodian” were used as examples.
2010: For the 2010 Census, a new instruction was added immediately preceding the questions on Hispanic origin and race. The instruction stated that “For this census, Hispanic origins are not races” because in the federal statistical system, Hispanic origin is considered to be a separate concept from race.

There were two changes to the question on race: (1) The wording of the race question was changed to “What is this person’s race? Mark x one or more boxes.” (2) Examples were added to the “Other Asian” response category (Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian, and so on) and the “Other Pacific Islander” response category (Fijian, Tongan, and so on).

There were three changes to the Hispanic origin question: (1) The wording of the question changed to “Is this person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?” (2) The question provided no specific instruction for non-Hispanic respondents. (3) The “Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin” category provided examples of six Hispanic origin groups (Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on) and instructed respondents to “print origin.”
1790, 1800, 1810: The racial categorization in the first decennial census of 1790 was a reflection of Article 1, Sect. 2, of the newly ratified U.S. Constitution.

Data on race were recorded via enumerator observation and for many more censuses.
1790, 1800, 1810: The racial categorization in the first decennial census of 1790 was a reflection of Article 1, Sect. 2, of the newly ratified U.S. Constitution.

Data on race were recorded via enumerator observation and for many more censuses.
1820, 1830, 1840: In the 1820 Census, a new racial category for “Free Colored Persons” was introduced, reflecting the different rights free Whites and free Blacks had, as well as the growth of the free Black population. 1850: In 1850, for the first time, a category was used measuring a “Black blood” quantum, termed “Mulatto,” for free inhabitants and slave inhabitants.
1790, 1800, 1810: The racial categorization in the first decennial census of 1790 was a reflection of Article 1, Sect. 2, of the newly ratified U.S. Constitution.

Data on race were recorded via enumerator observation and for many more censuses.
1820, 1830, 1840: In the 1820 Census, a new racial category for “Free Colored Persons” was introduced, reflecting the different rights free Whites and free Blacks had, as well as the growth of the free Black population. 1820, 1830, 1840: In the 1820 Census, a new racial category for “Free Colored Persons” was introduced, reflecting the different rights free Whites and free Blacks had, as well as the growth of the free Black population. 1860: In 1860, census takers were instructed to enumerate only American Indians who were taxed. Taxed American Indians were those who had renounced tribal rule and exercised the rights of citizens under state or territorial laws. This primarily included American Indians who had settled in or near White communities and who had assimilated into American society. American Indians not taxed were considered to be those who lived among their kinsmen in tribal communities.

The racial category of “Chinese” was included on the 1860 Census questionnaire in California only.
1870, 1880: The flow of migrants from China began to rise prior to the 1870 Census constituting the first wave of non-European immigrants since the end of the slave trade.

This was the first use of a national origin category, along with color and race. Identical racial categories were used to collect data on the “color” of the U.S. population for the 1880 Census.
1900: In 1900, for the first time, “Negro” was used, in conjunction with “Black,” to describe the population of African origin. While there were no separate categories used to measure “Black blood” quantum, the term “Negro” was used to refer to full-blooded individuals and the term “of Negro descent” was used to refer to “Mulattos.” 1920: The 1910 Census recorded the nascent Korean, Filipino, and Asian Indian populations as part of the “Other” race category. These newer Asian immigrant groups had become sizeable enough to warrant creating separate categories for the 1920 Census enumeration.

“Hindu” represents a particular religion. This is the only time that a religious term has been included as a race question category in a U.S. decennial census.
1940: The 1940 Census used the same racial categories as the 1930 Census, with the exception that “Mexican” was dropped.

After the 1930 Census, Mexican-Americans, with the help of the Mexican government, lobbied against the continued use of “Mexican” as a separate category in the race question. Ultimately, the lobbying succeeded and “Mexican” was dropped as a separate category for all future censuses, although it was to reappear several decades later as a national origin category in the Hispanic origin question.
1960: In the 1960 Census, self-response replaced enumerator reporting for most Americans. Alaska and Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959. Thus, 1960 marked the first US decennial census that incorporated Alaska Native and Pacific Islander race categories. Eskimo and Aleut populations were separately identified on census questionnaires used in Alaska only. Hawaiian and Part-Hawaiian populations were separately identified on census questionnaires used in Hawaii only.

A specific category titled “Other” was not used in the race question for the 1960 Census; rather, the list of racial categories for respondents to choose from ended with “etc.?”
1980: In 1977, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued its Directive 15 policy on racial and ethnic classification for federal data, defining the basic racial and ethnic categories for federal statistics and program administrative reporting. The 1977 OMB race and ethnic standards maintain that ethnicity (“Hispanic” or “not Hispanic”) is a separate and distinct concept from race (“White,” “Black,” “American Indian or Alaskan Native,” or “Asian or Pacific Islander”). Therefore, individuals who are Hispanic may be of any race.

In the 1980 Census, the “Mexican” category was expanded to include “Mexican, Mexican-Amer., Chicano.”

In response to immigration patterns, “Vietnamese,” “Guamanian,” and “Samoan” were introduced as categories in the race question.
2000: In 1997, OMB issued revised race and ethnicity standards.
– The race question allowed the reporting of more than one race.
– There were two separate questions on race and ethnicity when collecting data via self-identification.
– The final race categories were “white,” “black or African American,” “American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Asian,” and “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.”
– The final ethnicity categories were “Hispanic or Latino,” and “Not Hispanic or Latino.” This was the first time the term “Latino” was introduced.

The “Some Other Race” category, long part of the census, was not included in either the 1977 OMB Directive 15 or the 1997 OMB revised race and ethnic standards. However, the 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill stated “none of the funds provided in this or any other Act for any fiscal year may be used for the collection of Census data on race identification that does not include ‘some other race’ as a category.”

Gibson, Campbell, and Kay Jung. 2002. “Historical Census Statistics on Population By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1790 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States.”
Humes, Karen, and Howard Hogan. 2009. “Measurement of Race and Ethnicity in a Changing, Multicultural America.”
Humes, Karen R., Nicholas A. Jones, and Roberto R. Ramirez. 2011. “Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010.”
Office of Management and Budget. 1978. “Statistical directive no. 15: Race and ethnic standards for federal agencies and administrative reporting.”
Office of Management and Budget. 1997. “Revisions to the standards for the classification of federal data on race and ethnicity.”
U.S. Census Bureau History Questionnaires. (2014, March 31).
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Race |  Last Revised: 2015-09-04T14:15:29.5-04:00