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.

This is an interesting (and extremely simple) web site that displays what the “race question” on census forms has looked like since 1790. It’s definitely worth checking out:

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “”

  1. end the census Says:

    Why does race even matter? Aren’t all persons supposed to be treated equally. There shouldn’t be any special “government programs” for anybody based on race.
    (this is just my opinion as usual)

  2. Kaleena Says:

    It looks like your hyperlink just reverts back to your own post. Is that what you intended?

  3. Dairyland CL Says:

    Kaleena, you’re right but if you google “racebox” it pops up right away. Looking at all that really gives you a sense of history. The 19th century forms are really kind of depressing. We have improved. Everyone gets an “attaboy”.

  4. Mike Says:

    @end the census
    There are some uses. I’ve been told the race question determines how many tutors a school might need for students who need help with English, and how many foreign language books our libraries should buy.

  5. anonymous Says:

    The 2010 Census (and beyond) will reflect the most diverse Census ever. Future generations will see this. Here’s to! :)

  6. civil rights act Says:

    How do we enforce the civil rights act if we can’t prove the geographic areas of where people of different races live?

  7. end the census Says:

    That makes no sense, what do you mean, you can’t enforce civil rights if you can’t “prove” what?? Civil rights apply to all persons, not just people whose skin happens to be a darker shade of pale. Nobody has to “prove” anything, we know what color our skin is, duh!

  8. Pablo S. Says:

    Let’s not confuse “civil rights” with EEO and affirmative action.
    Although all citizens are, by design, entitled to civil rights, many are excluded from the benefits of affirmative action.
    The census can help identify members who would qualify for affirmative action programs, and allocate funds and define quotas accordingly.

  9. Crew Leader Says:

    It’s not just about government programs. Private industry uses the demograghics to make decisions regarding store locations, type of business suited for an area, etc. Remember…it’s the Dept. of COMMERCE.

    Beyond the population count, other info is used for business.

  10. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @end the census: You are obviously very naive about this whole issue of race and civil rights. Not malicious, just naive.

    There’s no way that civil rights can be guaranteed (assuming that this is what one wants, that one sees this as a good thing) without being able to identify the population by race and ethnicity. Why is this?

    We wouldn’t even have to talk about civil rights if there were no ongoing problems concerning race and ethnicity. Just because we (the U.S.) have strong laws in place guaranteeing these rights (the Civil Rights Act, Title 9, etc.) doesn’t mean that those rights are actually available to everyone. Discrimination still exists. Civil rights is an ongoing atttempt to get rid of that discrimination.

    The only way to tell if discrimination exists, and therefore get rid of it, is to know how many people of different races and ethnicities (and genders) live in a certain area. Then one can determine if there is discrimination in such areas as housing, education and employment by comparing the racial and ethnic mix of the population to, say, the makeup of schoolkids, or the workforce of a local business, or the residents of a public housing project.

    Without race and ethnicity statistics like those provided by the Census, we’re doomed to live with continuing discrimination. Declaring that we are a “color-blind” society does not make it so.

  11. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    By the way, I discovered that a good place to look for answers to questions such as the one being discussed here is the good old D-547.1 “NRFU Enumerator Quick Reference Guide”. Remember that, the skinny little brochure we got in training? I hadn’t read mine completely, but looked through the list of FAQs there the other day and actually found some useful information.

    6. Why does the Census Bureau need to know my race?

    Information on race is required for federal programs and is critical in making policy decisions for many programs, particularly for civil rights. States use these data to meet legislative redistricting requirements. In addition, data on race are used to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act. Race data are also used to promote equal employment opportunities and to find out if inequalities exist.

    7. Why does the Census Bureau collect information on Hispanic origin?

    Hispanic origin data are used to carry out many federal programs. These cover enforcement of bilingual election rules under the Voting Rights Act, and monitoring and enforcing equal employment opportunities under the Civil Rights Act. Local governments use this information to help identify people who may not be receiving medical services under the Public Health Act, or to evaluate if financial institutions are meeting the credit needs of minority populations under the Community Reinvestment Act.