Results of the 1996 Race and Ethnic Targeted Test

April 1997
Working Paper Number: POP-WP018
Staff in Population Division and Decennial Statistical Studies Division
Disclaimer

This paper reports the general results of research undertaken by Census Bureau Staff. The views expressed are attributable to the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Census Bureau.

Acknowledgments

The analysis of data from the 1996 Race and Ethnic Targeted Test (RAETT) and the writing of this report reflect the combined efforts of several co-authors. These co-authors, most of whom are in the Population Division (POP) or the Decennial Statistical Studies Division (DSSD) at the Census Bureau, are listed alphabetically: Claudette Bennett (POP), Manuel de la Puente (POP), Deborah Griffin (DSSD), Brian Harris-Kojetin (on special assignment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), Roderick Harrison (POP), Joan Hill (DSSD), John Hilton (DSSD), Theresa Leslie (DSSD), and Edna Paisano (POP).

Campbell Gibson (POP) and Henry Woltman (DSSD) provided overall direction for preparation of the report.

The Decennial Management Division coordinated and directed survey operations, including processing of the questionnaires.

Staff in the Population Division made many contributions to the preparation of the report. In particular, Kymberly DeBarros, Rosalyn Green, Emily Lennon, and Barbara Martin provided computer programming support; and, Mary Blankenship, Rhonda Carney, Deborah Carroll, Linda Chase, Mary Kennedy, Debra Niner, Tonya Prince, John Reed, Paula Vines, and Leigh Zarbough provided professional, statistical, and clerical assistance. Numerous reviewers also contributed: Nancy Gordon, Robert Kominski, John Long, Elizabeth Martin, Nampeo McKenney, Gregory Robinson, Daniel Weinberg, Karen Wheeless, and other Census Bureau staff.


Highlights of the Race and Ethnic Targeted Test

Since 1977 the federal statistical agencies have used the four racial categories (American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, and White) and two ethnic categories (Hispanic origin, and Not of Hispanic origin) specified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in Statistical Policy Directive No. 15. These are the minimum categories for reporting race and ethnicity.

In 1994 OMB initiated a comprehensive review of the racial categories prescribed by Directive No. 15, as part of which the Census Bureau conducted three sample surveys: 1) The May 1995 Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a final report of which was published in June 1996; 2) the 1996 National Content Survey (NCS), the results of which were published in December 1996; and 3) the 1996 Race and Ethnic Targeted Test (RAETT), the results of which are presented for the first time in the accompanying report.

While the CPS and NCS surveys were designed to be nationally representative, a targeted sample design was used in the RAETT. This design provides larger samples of six targeted populations (Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and White ethnic) than does a nationally representative sample, by drawing the samples from areas with high concentrations of the specified population groups. Unlike the results of the two earlier samples, the results for the targeted sample in the RAETT can only be generalized to areas of relatively high concentrations of the targeted populations used to select each sample. These areas of high concentration represent 3 percent or less of American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, and White ethnic households nationally, 8 percent of Alaska Native households, 10 percent of Black households, and 15 percent of Hispanic households.

SUMMARY OF THE RAETT'S RESEARCH OBJECTIVES AND FINDINGS
Objective: Determine the effects of a multiracial category and of two new instructions in the race question: to "Mark one or more" or to "Mark all that apply."


Findings:

  • Some respondents provided unrequested multiple responses, despite instructions in those panels to mark one box, especially in the Alaska Native and in the Asian and Pacific Islander targeted samples.
  • The options for reporting more than one race did not affect the percentages reporting solely as White, as Black, or as American Indian in their respective targeted samples. However they did affect the percentages of Alaska Native and of Asian and Pacific Islander in their respective targeted samples.
  • The multiracial category affected reporting in the single race category of Asian and Pacific Islander and of American Indian and Alaska Native.
  • The "mark all that apply" option also affected the reporting of Asian and Pacific Islander as a single race in that targeted sample, but the "mark one or more" option did not.
  • When the race and Hispanic origin questions are combined, a high percentage of responses included both Hispanic origin and one of the four major race categories currently allowed under Directive No. 15.
  • Using an illustrative procedure for classifying responses of more than one race into the current OMB race categories eliminated most statistically significant effects of the multiple race reporting options on reporting as Asian and Pacific Islander in that targeted sample, but only reduced the effects in the Alaska Native targeted sample on reporting as American Indian and Alaska Native.
Objective: Determine the effects of collecting information about race, Hispanic origin, and ancestry in a combined, two-part question.


Findings:

  • In every targeted sample, nonresponse to each of two combined questions was significantly lower than nonresponse to the corresponding separate Hispanic origin and race questions.
  • The two combined race and Hispanic origin questions elicited high levels of multiple responses in the Hispanic targeted sample. Over 90 percent of the multiple responses involved Hispanic origin and a race group.
  • When all responses of Hispanic (either Hispanic alone or Hispanic in combination with any other response) are added together, which is the appropriate comparision, there is no statistically significant difference in the percent reporting Hispanic between a combined question and separate questions on Hispanic origin and race.
  • Write-ins to the ancestry component of the two-part question did not provide reporting of the detailed Hispanic origin groups comparable to that provided in separate questions. For the detailed groups of the Asian and Pacific Islander population, comparable information was obtained by one version of the question ("mark one or more" instruction), but not by the other version ("mark all that apply" instruction).
Objective: Determine the effects of placing the Hispanic origin question immediately before the race question.


Findings:

  • This reduced, but did not eliminate, nonresponse to the Hispanic origin question.
  • This also reduced, but did not eliminate, reporting in the "Other race" category on the race question.
Objective: Test alternative terminologies, classifications, and formats in the race question.


Findings:

  • Spelling out "American Indian or Alaska Native" instead of using "Indian (Amer) or Alaska Native" has no effect on reporting as American Indian and Alaska Native in the American Indian targeted sample.
  • Substituting "Native Hawaiian" for "Hawaiian" and listing this category immediately after the "American Indian and Alaska Native" category increased reporting as Hawaiian.
  • Alphabetizing the Asian and Pacific Islander groups after "Native Hawaiian" had no effect on the total percentage reporting as Asian and Pacific Islander in that targeted sample.
  • Given the very small numbers involved, no statistically significant difference was found between reporting as "Guamanian or Chamorro" or as "Guamanian."


Contents

1. Introduction and Research Results
  1.1 Introduction
  1.2 Overview of Survey Design and Methodology
    1.2.1 Survey Design
    1.2.2 Survey Methodology
  1.3 Research Results from the Targeted Samples: Options for Reporting More than One Race
    1.3.1 Responses to the Questions on Race
    1.3.2 Illustrative Approaches to Classifying Data on Race
    1.3.3 Effects of the Options for Reporting More than One Race in the Targeted Samples
  1.4 Research Results from the Targeted Samples: Effects of Placing the Hispanic Origin Question Immediately Before the Race Question
  1.5 Research Results from the Targeted Samples: Effects of Combining the Questions on Race and Hispanic Origin
  1.6 Research Results from the Targeted Samples: Terminology, Classification, and Formatting
  1.7 Relationship to Other Research
 
2. Background
  2.1 The Office of Management and Budget's Statistical Policy Directive No. 15
  2.2 Issues Addressed in the Race and Ethnic Targeted Test
    2.2.1 Reporting More than One Race
    2.2.2 Sequencing the Questions on Race and Hispanic Origin
    2.2.3 Combining the Race and Hispanic Origin Questions With Ancestry Asked in a Second Part
    2.2.4 Terminology and Formatting Issues
 
3. Survey Design and Methodology
  3.1 Design of the Survey
    3.1.1 Experimental Design
    3.1.2 Sample Selection
  3.2 Survey Methodology
  3.3 Editing of Race Data
  3.4 Data Analysis Methods
    3.4.1 Statistics Used
    3.4.2 Panel Comparison Methods

Text Tables
Table 1-1. Overview of the Eight Survey Panels (Questionnaires)
Table 1-2. Overview of Mail Return Responses by Panel for the Black Targeted Sample
Table 1-3. Overview of Mail Return Responses by Panel for the American Indian Targeted Sample
Table 1-4. Overview of Mail Return Responses by Panel for the Alaska Native Targeted Sample
Table 1-5. Overview of Mail Return Responses by Panel for the Asian and Pacific Islander Targeted Sample
Table 1-6. Overview of Mail Return Responses by Panel for the Hispanic Targeted Sample
Table 1-7. Overview of Mail Return Responses by Panel for the White Ethnic Targeted Sample
Table 1-8. Reporting by Race in the Asian and Pacific Islander Targeted Sample, for Selected Panels
Table 1-9. Reporting on the Hispanic Origin Question in the Hispanic Targeted Sample, for Selected Panels
Table 1-10. Reporting by Race in the Hispanic Targeted Sample, for Selected Panels
Table 1-11. Nonresponse Rates to the Race Question by Targeted Sample, for Selected Panels
Table 1-12. Reporting as American Indian and Alaska Native by Format of the Race Question in the American Indian Targeted Sample, for Selected Panels
Table 1-13. Reporting as Asian and Pacific Islander by the Order of Categories in the Race Question in the Asian and Pacific Islander Targeted Sample, for Selected Panels
 
Table 2-1. Issues Included as Test Objectives in 1996 Census Tests
Table 2-2. Selected Characteristics of the Asian and Pacific Islander Population
Table 2-3. Summary of Issues Covered in the RAETT
 
Table 3-1. Experimental Design
Table 3-2. Race and Hispanic Origin Question Design Features by Panel
Table 3-3. Characteristics of the Sampling Frames
Table 3-4. Mailout Sample Size (Housing Units) by Panel and Targeted Sample
Table 3-5. Mail Response Rate by Targeted Sample

Appendixes
A. Questions in the Race and Ethnic Targeted Test
B. Supplement on Survey Design and Methodology
  B.1 Modifications to the Race and Hispanic Origin Questions
  B.2 Sample Selection
  B.3 Edits and Recodes
C. Description of Detailed Tables
  C.1 Introduction
    C.1.1 Tables Showing the Reporting of Race and Hispanic Origin for Pairs of Panels
    C.1.2 Tables Showing Details of Reporting More Than One Race for All Panels
    C.1.3 Tables Showing Illustrative Approaches to Racial Classification for Pairs of Panels
    C.1.4 General Information About the Detailed Tables
  C.2 List of Titles for Detailed Tables
    C.2.1 Titles of Tables Showing the Reporting of Race and Hispanic Origin for Pairs of Panels
    C.2.2 Titles of Tables Showing Details of Reporting More than One Race for All Panels
    C.2.3 Titles of Tables Showing Illustrative Approaches to Racial Classification for Pairs of Panels
D. Detailed Tables
E. Population Division Working Paper Series

Appendix Text Tables
Table B-1. Final Frame Results
Table B-2. States Included in Sampling Frames

Appendix Figures
Figure A-1. Panel A:1990 Census Modified; No Multiracial Category
Figure A-2. Panel B: Multiracial Category; Hispanic Origin First Sequence
Figure A-3. Panel C: Multiracial Check One or More Races: Hispanic Origin First Sequence
Figure A-4. Panel D: Multiracial Category; Race First Sequence
Figure A-5. Panel E: Combined Race, Hispanic Origin, and Ancestry Question; Multiracial Category
Figure A-6. Panel F: Combined Race, Hispanic Origin, and Ancestry Question With Mark One or More Boxes
Figure A-7. Panel G: Multiracial Category; Hispanic Origin First Sequence; Terminology; Alphabetization
Figure A-8. Mark All that Apply; Hispanic Origin First Sequence
Figure B-1. Race and Hispanic Origin Questions from the 1990 Census