My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

“Negro” has been on census forms for 60 years

News organizations across the country have reported on the controversy surrounding the word “Negro” on forms for the 2010 Census.

But a Census Bureau official tells NPR that “Negro” has been on the forms since at least 1950.

NPR also reports that 56,175 respondents wrote in “Negro” on their forms in the 2000 Census, even though the word was also included as a response choice.

One of our commenters asked when the Census Bureau last studied the wording for the question, which asks about race, and when we might see some new data. The Bureau told NPR it would examine the effects of removing “Negro” this year.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

6 Responses to ““Negro” has been on census forms for 60 years”

  1. Ignatius Says:

    The Census Bureau can study that subject till the cows come home and it won’t matter to the hypersensitive, who only care what their preferred nomenclature is. Whether all African Americans agree with them or not is of little interest to them. Those that disagree are old or ignorant or whatever.

    The Census Bureau is just as confused as the rest of us when it comes to these preferences.

    The easy answer is to stop collecting this information, which is useful only to gerrymander Congressional Districts and for the implementation of a racial spoils system, which most Americans oppose.

  2. tommy fuller Says:

    so what are whites referred to on this census? whites or Caucasians, or European Americans

  3. Anonymous CL Says:

    Tommy: The option for whites says only “White”.

  4. Joe Crede Says:

    “The easy answer is to stop collecting this information, which is useful only to gerrymander Congressional Districts and for the implementation of a racial spoils system, which most Americans oppose.”

    Give me a break.

  5. My Two Census » Blog Archive » Learning from the “Negro” controversy Says:

    [...] word “Negro” has appeared on census forms for at least 60 years, but many African Americans are taking offense to the Census Bureau using the word as a response [...]

  6. Mara Says:

    Recently, I found the 2010 Census form hanging on my door. As I began filling it out, I came across a dilemma. The U.S. government wants to know if my children are adopted or not and it wants to know what our races are. Being adopted myself, I had to put “Other” and “Don’t Know Adopted” for my race and “Other” and “Don’t Know” for my kids’ races.

    Can you imagine not knowing your ethnicity, your race? Now imagine walking into a vital records office and asking the clerk for your original birth certificate only to be told “No, you can’t have it, it’s sealed.”

    How about being presented with a “family history form” to fill out at every single doctor’s office visit and having to put “N/A Adopted” where life saving information should be?

    Imagine being asked what your nationality is and having to respond with “I don’t know”.

    It is time that the archaic practice of sealing and altering birth certificates of adopted persons stops.

    Adoption is a 5 billion dollar, unregulated industry that profits from the sale and redistribution of children. It turns children into chattel who are re-labeled and sold as “blank slates”.

    Genealogy, a modern-day fascination, cannot be enjoyed by adopted persons with sealed identities. Family trees are exclusive to the non-adopted persons in our society.

    If adoption is truly to return to what is best for a child, then the rights of children to their biological identities should NEVER be violated. Every single judge that finalizes an adoption and orders a child’s birth certificate to be sealed should be ashamed of him/herself.

    I challenge all readers: Ask the adopted persons that you know if their original birth certificates are sealed.