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Census: Almost 10 million Americans changed race


WASHINGTON (AP) - Nearly 10 million Americans decided they would be a different race or ethnicity in the early 2000s, with the largest movement coming from Hispanics deciding which racial category they should be in, a new census report showed Wednesday.

People switched between races, moved from multiple races to a single race or back, or decided to add or drop Hispanic ethnicity from their identifiers on census forms.

Researchers said the information used - race, ethnicity, sex, age, location and how the information was gathered - is not particularly helpful for figuring out why people decided to make those changes. They noted that there has been a tendency toward multiple-race responses, and new census form designs may have caused some changes in how people respond to questions about Hispanic ethnicity.

Age may have something to do with the changes, the researchers suggested.

"Compared to adults, children and adolescents may be more likely to change their race/Hispanic responses for two reasons: childhood and adolescence are times of personal identity development and young people's information was probably reported by their parents in 2000 but may be self-reported in 2010," researchers said.

The report showed that 1 in 16 people - or approximately 9.8 million of 162 million - who responded to both the 2000 and 2010 censuses gave different answers when it came to race and ethnicity.

If extrapolated across the entire population, that would mean that 8.3 percent of people in the United States would have made a change in their racial or ethnic identity in that decade, according to the paper authored by Sonya Rastogi, Leticia E. Fernandez, James M. Noon and Sharon R. Ennis of the U.S. Census Bureau and Carolyn A. Liebler of the University of Minnesota.

The largest change was from Hispanic (some other race) to Hispanic white, with 2.38 million people making that change on their census forms. But the next greatest change was from Hispanic white to Hispanic (some other race), with 1.2 million people deciding that designation fit them better. Put together, these two changes make up more than a third - 37 percent - of the race/ethnicity changes in the report.

The two next biggest changes were also paired: 710,019 people decided to change from white to Hispanic white, and 417,855 moved from Hispanic white to white from the 2000 to the 2010 census.

The groups most likely to change were people who were children and/or living in the West in 2000. That region also had a higher rate of interracial marriage, and multiple race reporting, the report said. The census defines the West as being Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The most stable groups were single-race, non-Hispanic whites, blacks and Asians, with those who checked those boxes staying with them in both censuses. People were also consistent with their Hispanic/non-Hispanic choices.

But "there is extensive population churning among American Indians, Pacific Islanders and multiple-race respondents in our data," the report said. "Many people left each of these populations between 2000 and 2010, and about as many joined each group."

The census identifies races as white; black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and other for those claiming more than one race. There is also a Hispanic ethnic category.

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sun1045 August 06 2014 at 7:53 PM

Americans have figured out how to work the welfare/entitlement system by being a minority......

Flag Reply +55 rate up
15 replies
Bill August 06 2014 at 9:06 PM

yea, you need to say you are from Mexico, then you get treated better, ,more food stamps, don't worry about IRS,,,, free health care. Heck, who blames people, fall in line man, they giving it away in America, as the Border agents who are changing diapers.. Go Obama.

Flag Reply +39 rate up
6 replies
rwgebo1889 August 06 2014 at 8:53 PM

Race matters to those who seek to exploit it.

Flag Reply +31 rate up
1 reply
posthuf rwgebo1889 August 07 2014 at 12:09 PM

And ONLY to those who seek to exploit it!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
Judith posthuf August 07 2014 at 1:50 PM

Remember - exploitation by any one group of people can result in either negative or positive outcomes for society depending upon the rationale for the exploitation.

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alfredsonnypic August 06 2014 at 8:32 PM

There is only the HUMAN RACE. Maybe there are aliens from outer space but we are Earthlings. Race is a misnomer designed to exploit and enslave people

Flag Reply +25 rate up
8 replies
ajt1025 August 06 2014 at 9:02 PM

Sun1045 has said it all. Soon there will be nobody paying taxes then what will our currupt politician do?

Flag Reply +23 rate up
2 replies
TR by ML Neal... ajt1025 August 07 2014 at 3:39 AM

Our corrupt politicians will do what they do best....nothing, then, now and in the future.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
b'hamster ajt1025 August 07 2014 at 11:48 AM

They will and have always found ways to tax us.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
MICHELLE August 06 2014 at 8:18 PM

Apparently the definition of race has also changed because most of what is being called race is actually ethnicity. If this is the new trend, then my race is Italian-German-American.

Flag Reply +22 rate up
4 replies
vincentpricehowell August 06 2014 at 8:30 PM

What this all boils down to, is that we'll be taking siestas every day, as part of our work day. like they do in the great hard-working country of Mexico.

Flag Reply +18 rate up
5 replies
donpantanella August 06 2014 at 11:39 PM

I started wearing black face in 2008 thinking I would get a better deal in life and I did.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
5 replies
sylvin51 August 06 2014 at 9:56 PM

You can't change your RACE, you are what you are, if you put down anything else you are one race the LYING RACE.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
2 replies
TR by ML Neal... sylvin51 August 07 2014 at 3:44 AM

syphll....sylvin51...51 ways to be stupid, huh?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
demswillgo2hell sylvin51 August 07 2014 at 11:02 AM

TR is that the best you have? Weak!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Dick August 06 2014 at 8:30 PM

Well I would not want to be black and live in Africa and get Ebola from screwing monkey's.....like they go AIDS and shared it with us!!

Flag Reply +12 rate up
12 replies
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