Option for Hispanics Left Out of 2010 Census

The Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority group according to the 2010 Census. From 2000 – 2010, the Hispanic population grew from 35.3 million to 50.5 million, a 43 percent increase.

The 25.2 million-person increase in the Hispanic community helped to account for the 27.3 million-person increase in the total U.S. population. Overall, whites account for 72 percent, Hispanics 16 percent and blacks 13 percent of the total population.

“More than half of the growth in the total population of the United States between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase

in the Hispanic population” reads the Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010 Census brief. Yet, Hispanic, according the U.S Census Bureau, is not a race.

“Race would be black, white, Asian, Native American; those are the races,” said Juanita Gaston, coordinator of the Census Data Office at Florida A&M located in Tucker Hall. “Hispanics can be of any race. You would check your race and check Hispanic or non-Hispanic.”

Included in the census was the category for Hispanic origin, where the citizen filling out the census can claim whether or not they are of Hispanic decent and which country where they trace their lineage. Following this question is the question of race. This section offers white, black or African-American, American Indian or Alaskan Native and a section full of Asian races.

“Because they want to know where people are from,” said Gaston. “Some people may not identify as Hispanic but they may say ‘I’m from Mexico’ or ‘I’m from a Spanish-speaking country’ and then they would be lumped together as Hispanic.”

Overall, the census included 15 different response categories and three areas to write in a race, according to the Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010 Census brief. Out of the 15 response categories, seven are different Asian groups and four are native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander groups.

If the citizen is of Asian descent, the race portion offers the choices of Asian Indian, Japanese, Korean and more. The census allowed Hispanic under the “some other race” option.

“I think it is problematic,” said Lucy Caballero, assistant director of Hispanic/Latino Student Union at Florida State. “It falls back to the strides that we are not making in the U.S. with the Arizona immigration laws and other immigration laws. The census is a clear show of us not being represented as the largest growing minority.”

The term Hispanic originates from the 1970s, used to unify people from Spanish-speaking countries under one umbrella for political purposes. The census is required to be performed every 10 years by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution.

The data collected by the census is used to determine the amount of seats in the House of Representatives per state to give a better representation. It is also important in allowing the release of billions of dollars in federal funds to communities based on the needs of the area residents for projects like repairing infrastructure.

The Famuan made several attempts to contact the U.S. Census Bureau’s Public Information Office but was unsuccessful.