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Wednesday, November 10, 2004 

Word from the Census

So I wrote the Census Bureau (from my work email account) earlier this week to inquire about their methodology concerning Latinos. They're pretty speedy at the Census, and got back with me already. So here is my question:
I am writing to seek clarification on difference between the current
population estimates published in September of this year and the 2000
Census. Previously in the 2000 and 1990 Censuses tabulations of Hispanic
Origin/Latino included racial breakdowns. Using American FactFinder to
examine Summary File One I see that many people identified their race as
"Some other race alone." This is in fact one of the more popular options
(based upon 2000 Census data roughly 37.35 % of Latino respondents
nationally or 14,891,303 people). But upon examination of the current
population estimates (http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.php) I
notice the the option has been removed. I was hoping that you could
please the removal of this category to me.

Also, I have notice that the number of people who identify as Latino or
Hispanic and then identify their race as white has sharply increased
from 16,907,852 (based on the figures provided by American FactFinder
2000 Census Summary File One) to 36,870,085 in the current population
estimates. This seems puzzling to me because the total number of Latino
or Hispanic persons in 2000 was only 35,305,818 in 2000 with the
population growth between 2000 and June 2003 being a solid 13 % -while
total white Latino population appears to have grown by 118.06 %. Is this
change related to the removal of the category mentioned above? If so,
what is the reasoning behind the shift? Thanks.

And the Census's response:
Mr. **********:

Thank you for your inquiry of the U.S. Census Bureau.

In response to your first question regarding the absence of the "Some Other
Race" category in our population estimates, the short answer is the Census
Bureau determined that the category did not function as intended in Census
2000. In fact, the vast majority of responses were given by people of
Hispanic origin who subsequently wrote in an answer to the race question
such as "Hispanic" or "Latino." Thus, we determined that the strategy that
would be most faithful to the intent of the question would be to
redistribute the population who responded "Some Other Race" among the other
possible answers to the question. For more details on this decision and
the strategy we used to redistribute the responses, please see the
following documents:


In response to your second question about the size of the population who
identified themselves as both white and Hispanic, the difference you see
between Census 2000 and the estimates is mainly due to the procedure of
redistributing the "Some Other Race" population to the other race
categories. For your reference, the popular tables in the estimates area
of the Census Bureau website give not only the estimates themselves but
also the base from which they were calculated (i.e., the revised Census
number). To see this for the national estimates, please refer to the
following URL:


I hope this has answered your questions. If you have further questions,
please feel free to let us know.

Matthew Christenson

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