The Biden Administration Proposed Adding ‘Puerto Rican,’ ‘Cuban,’ and ‘Colombian’ to the Race Category in the Census

The Biden Administration Proposed Adding ‘Puerto Rican,’ ‘Cuban,’ and ‘Colombian’ to the Race Category in the Census
Credit: BELatina/BrandStar

Our community was severely undercounted in the U.S. census.  

From fearing to disclose immigration status to not having the access to fill it out, several factors played into this. However, according to Census data, the “some other race” box also jaded the accuracy of the population count.  

In the 2020 U.S. census, “some other race” was found to be the most common answer. Over 15 percent of the population checked that box and 93 percent of people who checked the box were of Hispanic or Latino origin.  

The identity crisis that these boxes may cause is not isolated to the census. 

Deciphering what to check whenever the question of race and ethnicity comes up in official documents can be anxiety-inducing for many. And it all comes down to how people define Hispanic or Latino. A 2015 survey from the Pew Research Center states that 17 percent of Hispanic adults believe it pertains to race, 29 percent said it’s based on ancestry, while 42 percent believe it has more to do with culture. Combine that with all the different types of races that exist for people with Latin American and Caribbean ancestry and it becomes more complicated.   

Race continues to be evaluated

Well, as reported by NBC News, the Biden Administration took notice and has decided to do something about it.  

The Administration worked alongside a group of civil servants to propose a different take on race and ethnicity categories. The restructuring of such categories would be more well-rounded and allow people to have more options when choosing how to describe their identity. Some of these personal descriptors include Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Colombian. They propose to add other regional descriptors as well.  

The recommendations were made at the request of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 

“The nation does periodically examine how it asks about race and ethnicity and the ways we report out those findings can be important,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of race and ethnicity research for Pew Research Center. 

Currently, “Hispanic or Latino” appears under the ethnicity category. As for the race category, people are given only five options: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or White.  

The next U.S. census will be conducted in 2030. 

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