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2020 Census Questions: Race

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The Census Bureau is no longer collecting responses to the 2020 Census. This page provided guidance for responding, including where to count yourself and who to count on your questionnaire.

  

The 2020 Census asked a series of questions about you and each person who lives with you. When responding, you were asked to record the race of each person living in your home on April 1, 2020.

We understand you might have had questions about providing this information. Here were some of the guidelines for responding:

  • Your answer to this question should be based on how you identify. Each person can decide how to answer.
  • You are free to choose where to report your identity and which boxes to mark, or not to mark.
  • You are not required to mark a checkbox category in order to enter a response in one of the write-in areas. You may respond by entering your specific identity or identities in any of the write-in response areas on the race question.

You had the option to select one or more boxes for the race or races you identify with and enter your origins in the write-in space.

  • If you don't know the answer, please move on to the next question.
  • The instructions ask you to select one or more boxes and then enter detailed origins in the provided write-in fields. If you don't know the person's origin, you can leave this field blank.
  • In the online questionnaire, if you select a box, but leave the origin fields blank, a message will appear at the top of the screen and the blank field will be highlighted in red. If you do not know this the person's origin, click next again to continue completing your response.

More about the Question Options

We asked the question this way to comply with the federal government’s standards—provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget—for collecting data on race and Hispanic origin.

First, the question was based on how you identify. Second, the race categories generally reflected social definitions in the U.S. and were not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically. We recognize that the race categories include racial and national origins and sociocultural groups.

We made significant improvements to the question this decade to give everyone an opportunity to respond with their detailed racial identities. Providing this detail was an opportunity—not a requirement.

Based on research and positive feedback from communities over the past 10 years, people who identify as White or Black now have space to enter their detailed identities, such as the examples listed on the questionnaire.

In turn, this provides us the ability to produce detailed statistics for a variety of population groups in the United States, such as German, Lebanese, Mexican, Jamaican, Nigerian, Chinese, Navajo, Samoan, etc.

If an individual did not provide a race response, a response may have been assigned from previous census records or federal administrative records, if available, or their response may have been allocated using specific rules of precedence of household relationship. For example, if race was missing for a natural-born child in the household, then either the race or races of the householder, another natural-born child, or spouse of the householder were allocated.

If race could not be assigned from other sources and was not reported for anyone in the household, then the race or races of a householder in a previously processed household were allocated to the individual missing a response. (To learn more about how we process the results, please visit the Conducting the Count page.)

The information below, listed in the same order as the questionnaire, was provided to help you respond:

White:

The category “White” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Polish, French, Iranian, Slavic, Cajun, and Chaldean.

Black or African American:

The category “Black or African American” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Somali. The category also includes groups such as Ghanaian, South African, Barbadian, Kenyan, Liberian, and Bahamian.

American Indian or Alaska Native:

The category “American Indian or Alaska Native” includes all individuals who identify with any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. It includes people who identify as “American Indian” or “Alaska Native” and includes groups such as Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government, and Nome Eskimo Community.

Asian:

The category “Asian” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese. The category also includes groups such as Pakistani, Cambodian, Hmong, Thai, Bengali, Mien, etc.

There are individual Asian checkboxes for people who identify as one or more of the following:

  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • Asian Indian
  • Vietnamese
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Other Asian (for example, Pakistani, Cambodian, and Hmong)

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander:

The category “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, and Marshallese. The category also includes groups such as Palauan, Tahitian, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, Saipanese, Yapese, etc.

There are individual Pacific Islander checkboxes for people who identify as one or more of the following:

  • Native Hawaiian
  • Samoan
  • Chamorro
  • Other Pacific Islander (for example, Tongan, Fijian, and Mashallese)

Some Other Race:

If you do not identify with any of the provided race categories, you may enter your detailed identity in the Some Other Race write-in area.