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The upcoming 2020 Census Detailed Demographic and Housing Characteristics File A (Detailed DHC-A) greatly expands what we know about the racial and ethnic composition of the U.S. population.
While the 2020 Census has already revealed much about the overall Hispanic population and the major race groups (White, Black or African American, Asian and so on), the Detailed DHC-A provides data on detailed groups – such as German, Lebanese, Jamaican, Chinese, Native Hawaiian and Mexican – and on American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) tribes and villages like the Navajo Nation.
In total, we will release 2020 Census population counts for about 1,500 detailed race and ethnicity groups and AIAN tribes and villages. Depending on the size of the group, we’ll also provide sex-by-age statistics (the number of males and females within certain age categories). This is our most detailed racial and ethnic accounting of who we were as a nation in 2020.
Leading up to the 2020 Census, we conducted research and engaged with various communities and tribal nations to learn more about the ways in which people view and report their detailed racial, ethnic or tribal identities. This helped us improve the way that we collect, code and tabulate detailed data, providing a more vibrant portrait of the United States.
This blog describes what you should know about the Detailed DHC-A release on September 21.
The Detailed DHC-A provides total population counts for the detailed groups and sex-by-age data for the nation, states, counties, places, census tracts and American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian (AIANNH) areas.
To protect individuals’ confidential census responses, the geography type and the size of the population group determine the level of detail that will be available for the group. Larger groups will receive more age detail. Smaller groups, particularly in areas below the state-level, will receive less.
For example, detailed groups whose national population was less than 50 in the 2010 Census will only receive national- and state-level total population counts. By determining this in advance, we could tailor our confidentiality protections to produce more accurate counts for these small populations. For these groups, a total population count will be available at the national and state levels, but no other data can be produced.
For all other groups (i.e., groups with a national population of at least 50 in the 2010 Census or that we did not collect data for in the 2010 Census), we used an “adaptive design” process to determine the level of detail available for each:
Table 1 shows how many people need to identify as a particular detailed group to receive each level of age detail. (Note that the thresholds are different depending on the type of geography.)
For example, according to the ranges in the right column, a county with 1,500 people who identified as Japanese alone will receive a table with four age categories for each sex:
Level of Detail
(MOE = ±3)
|Substate and AIANNH (MOE = ±11)|
|Total count only||0–499||22–999|
|Sex by age table – 4 age categories||500–999||1,000–4,999|
|Sex by age table – 9 age categories||1,000–6,999||5,000–19,999|
|Sex by age table – 23 age categories||7,000+||20,000+|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Larger groups will receive tables with the age categories further split apart. For example, a county with 8,000 people who identified as Japanese alone would receive a table with nine age categories in a sex-by-age table and a county with 20,000 or more would receive a table with 23 age categories.
The margins of error (MOE) in table 1 also show how much disclosure avoidance-related uncertainty will be in the data about 95% of the time.
Detailed information on MOEs for sex-by-age counts will be available in the “Data Accuracy and Margins of Error” section of the technical documentation (coming soon).
Using this type of adaptivity allows us to produce more data for detailed groups where the populations live and to provide accurate data while protecting respondents’ privacy and the confidentiality of the data.
For the 2020 Census, we also made two improvements that allowed us to provide population counts in more localities than ever before.
Data in the Detailed DHC-A will also be available for “regional” race and ethnicity groups, such as European, Middle Eastern or North African, Caribbean, Sub-Saharan African, American Indian, Polynesian, South American, etc.
Table 2 shows how large a regional group must be to receive the different levels of sex-by-age categories. The 95% MOE for all regional groups is ±50 at every geography level.
Level of Detail
|Nation and State ±50)||Substate
(MOE = ±50)
|Total count only||0–4,999||94–4,999|
|Sex by age table – 4 age categories||5,000–19,999||5,000–19,999|
|Sex by age table – 9 age categories||20,000–149,999||20,000–149,999|
|Sex by age table – 23 age categories||150,000+||150,000+|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table 3 shows the number of detailed and regional groups eligible for tabulation in the Detailed DHC-A. The complete list of detailed and regional groups is available in the 2020 Census Hispanic Origin and Race Iterations List.
|Race or Ethnicity Group||Number of Groups|
|Hispanic or Latino||30||4|
|Black or African American||62||3|
|American Indian and Alaska Native||1,187||8|
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander||35||3|
|Some Other Race||22||2|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Data will be available for the race alone and race alone or in any combination populations.
The concepts of alone and alone or in any combination apply only to responses to the race question. Following the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s 1997 Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, only one response for Hispanic or Latino origin was tabulated.
As discussed in a previous blog, we made several enhancements to our 2020 Census Hispanic Origin and Race Code List that allowed us to more accurately collect, process and tabulate data. We made updates based on feedback that stakeholders, advisors and tribal leaders provided to us and that fit within the OMB guidelines.
Below are some examples of the improvements we made to more accurately code and process data for specific detailed race and ethnicity groups and AIAN tribes and villages. Some of these improvements include differences in how groups were coded and tabulated in 2010 and 2020.
We’ve developed a crosswalk for data users interested in learning more about the differences between how we tabulated 2010 Census data and 2020 Census data for detailed race and ethnicity groups and AIAN tribes and villages. The Detailed Race and Ethnicity Crosswalk: 2010 to 2020 shows which codes were used to tabulate each group in 2010 and 2020.
Data comparisons between 2020 Census and 2010 Census detailed race data should be made with caution and take into account improvements we made to the question and the ways we code what people tell us. However, the detailed Hispanic origin data from the ethnicity question are comparable between the two censuses.
We’d like to note that we’ve previously estimated that we would publish data for approximately 370 detailed race and ethnicity groups and about 1,200 detailed AIAN tribes and villages. We estimated these were the maximum number of groups that could be eligible for data based on our code list. Now that we’ve finalized our iterations list used to tabulate the data, we know that the number of groups will be a little lower. This is because the code list includes every term that receives a unique code during processing, but not all unique codes receive their own tabulations in the Detailed DHC-A.
For example, Okinawan, Iwo Jiman, and Japanese all receive unique codes during our data processing. However, in the 2020 Census Hispanic Origin and Race Iterations List, Okinawan, Iwo Jiman and Japanese are all included in Japanese. Based on the final iterations list, 300 detailed race and ethnicity groups and 1,187 AIAN tribes and villages will be eligible for tabulation.
Leading up to the 2020 Census, we engaged with data users, stakeholders, researchers, tribal leaders and advisors who helped us make our code list one that more accurately represents our diverse nation and produces data fit for a variety of uses. The upcoming Detailed DHC-A will provide a rich source of information about myriad race and ethnicity groups and tribal nations.
More information about the upcoming release is available in the Detailed DHC-A press kit.