Urban Fold

For Many Latinos, "Race" is a Tough Box to Check

...so more than a third went with "Other" in the last Census. Mireya Navarro reports on the rift between ethnic and racial identity experienced by some Latinos and the challenges the Bureau faces in designing a better questionnaire.

"Some [Census Bureau] experts say officials are right to go back to the drawing table. 'Whenever you have people who can't find themselves in the question, it's a bad question,' said Mary C. Waters, a sociology professor at Harvard who specializes in the challenges of measuring race and ethnicity.

The problem is more than academic - the census data on race serves many purposes, including determining the makeup of voting districts, and monitoring discriminatory practices in hiring and racial disparities in education and health. When respondents do not choose a race, the Census Bureau assigns them one, based on factors like the racial makeup of their neighborhood, inevitably leading to a less accurate count."

Full Story: For Many Latinos, Racial Identity Is More Culture Than Color

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