Race, Hispanic Origin, and Ancestry
Why, What, and How
Why Will Census 2000 Ask About Race, Hispanic Origin, and Ancestry?
Does Everyone Need to Answer the Question on Hispanic Origin?
Yes, the Hispanic origin question must be answered by EVERYONE. Those who are not of Hispanic origin are asked to mark the box "NO, not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino." People who are of Hispanic origin are asked to indicate the specific group they belong to: Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or other groups, such as Spanish, Honduran, or Venezuelan.
How Do I Answer the Question on Race?
The individual who responds to the census decides what his or her racial identity is. For the first time ever, people answering the census will be able to select more than one racial category to indicate mixed racial heritage. The groups shown in the census race question collapse into the six race groups needed by the federal government: White, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders. People who mark the American Indian or Alaska Native category are asked to provide the name of their principal or enrolled tribe. People who say they are "Other Asian," "Other Pacific Islander," and/or "Some other race" are asked to write in their race.
How Do Hispanics Answer the Race Question?
People of Hispanic origin may be of any race, Hispanics can choose one or more race categories, including White, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. If someone does not identify with any of the specified race groups, he or she may mark the "Some other race" category and write in their race.
How Do I Answer the Ancestry Question?
Ancestry refers to an individual's nationality, lineage, or the country in which the individual or the individual's parents or ancestors were born before their arrival in the United States. Examples of ancestries are Polish, Jamaican, Egyptian, and Taiwanese. The ancestry question is open-ended, allowing respondents to write in their lineage or ancestry.
Answering the Census is Important, Easy, and Safe.
By law, the Census Bureau cannot share your individual records with others, including welfare agencies, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service, courts, housing authorities, police, and the military. Anyone who breaks this law can receive up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. The law works - millions of questionnaires were processed during the 1990s without any breach of trust.
U.S. Census Bureau