Now Reading
Landmark Change: US Census to Include “Hispanic or Latino” Box

Landmark Change: US Census to Include “Hispanic or Latino” Box

The new US Census category recognizes the dual identity of Hispanic and Latino populations, empowering the communities with a more accurate count

Illustration by Arturo Magallanes
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In a move celebrated by Hispanic and Latino communities, the Biden administration approved a new standard for race and ethnicity data collection on the US Census on Thursday, March 28. For the first time, a separate checkbox for “Hispanic or Latino” will be included alongside existing racial categories. This decision marks a significant shift in how the US Census captures data on the Hispanic and Latino population.

What’s more? It represents a significant step toward a more accurate and nuanced understanding of the nation’s rapidly growing Hispanic and Latino population.

Previously, the Census Bureau collected data on Hispanic origin separately from race. This approach often resulted in undercounting Latinos, as many identify with both a race and their Hispanic ethnicity. The new “Hispanic or Latino” category acknowledges this dual identity and allows for a more precise demographic picture. Such recognition contributes to a stronger sense of belonging and a more nuanced understanding of the community.

The Implications

  • Enhanced Visibility: A dedicated checkbox ensures Latinos are accurately counted. That leads to better representation in government funding allocations, social programs, and political districts.
  • Empowering Self-Identification: The option to identify as both Hispanic/Latino and a specific race empowers individuals to define their heritage in a way that reflects their lived experience.
  • Improved Data Accuracy: More accurate data will lead to better-informed policies and resource allocation, effectively addressing the needs of the diverse communities across the US. This could include education funding, healthcare services, and political representation in areas with high Hispanic and Latino populations.

While some questions remain about how individuals with mixed racial and Hispanic backgrounds will identify, this change represents a significant victory for accurate representation and a more inclusive Census.

Challenges and Considerations

  • While this change is positive, some concerns remain. How Afro-Latinos, who identify with both racial and ethnic backgrounds, will choose to identify themselves on the Census remains to be seen.
  • The effectiveness of this new approach depends on outreach efforts to ensure all Hispanic and Latino communities are aware of the change and encouraged to participate in the Census.

In the end, the addition of the “Hispanic or Latino” checkbox is a step toward a more inclusive and accurate understanding of the Hispanic and Latino population in the US. This data will be crucial for ensuring this growing demographic has a strong voice and receives the resources it deserves.

This article was written with the assistance of AI.

Hispanic Executive

© 2021 Guerrero LLC. All rights reserved. Hispanic Executive is a registered trademark of Guerrero LLC.

1500 W Carroll Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60607