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We got our 2010 Census in the mail yesterday. I filled it out today and popped it in the mailbox in the postage-paid envelope that was provided. It took no more than the 10 minutes the government estimated it would.

I was pleased to see that the 2010 Census has gotten more nuanced about race and cultural origins, which is something I discussed in a previous post. For Person 1, the form states:

“NOTE: Please answer BOTH Question 8 about Hispanic origin and Question 9 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not races.”

It states the same, but with different question numbers (4 & 5) for each other person in the household.

The census gets even more nuanced for the Hispanic origin and race questions, stating for Question 8:

“Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?”

And giving the following check boxes:

  • No, not of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin
  • Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
  • Yes, Puerto Rican
  • Yes, Cuban
  • Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin — Print origin, for example, Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on.

Below this last selection is a box in which to write anything not covered by the check boxes.

Question 9 states:

“What is Person 1’s race? Mark “x” one or more boxes.”

  • White
  • Black, African Am., or Negro
  • American Indian or Alaska Native — Print name of enrolled or principal tribe. [Space following to write specific tribe.]
  • Asian Indian
  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Other Asian — Print race, for example, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian, and so on. [Space following for specifics.]
  • Native Hawaiian
  • Guamanian or Chamorro
  • Samoan
  • Other Pacific Islander — Print race, for example, Fijian, Tongan, and so on. [Space following for specifics.]

This is followed up by a check box for “Some other race — Print race,” with another space to do so.

Census 2010 gets it right as far as not attaching race to Hispanics and by providing options to write in particulars for other racial groups, but aren’t designations such as Japanese, Filipino and Samoan more cultural affiliations or origins than racial groups? I sure hope the folks at the Census Bureau consulted with people who identify with these cultures before assigning them to the racial question.

Census 2010 may not be perfect in this regard, but it’s better than it was before.