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Q:  

Do you know if there is a way to construct a Hispanic measure in the 1960 PUMS? I assume by the 1970 census there is a Hispanic category. Is that right?

A:  

It wasn’t until 1976 or so that there was a mandate to collect data (identify) Hispanics. Thus, there was no Hispanic origin question until 1980 for census data. However, one can identify Hispanics in earlier censuses.

In 1960 and 1970 there was a Spanish surname item (for the 5 southwestern states). In earlier years, the Spanish surname question was not limited to the five southwestern states. However, a person can be of Hispanic origin without a Spanish surname (or vice versa) so other items like place of birth, place of birth of parents, language, etc. have been used by researchers to identify Hispanics, albeit imperfectly.

The best summary of an Hispanic origin algorithm is on the IPUMS site: http://usa.ipums.org/usa-action/variables/HISPAN#description_tab

Note that the IPUMS project followed the method developed by Gratton and Gutmann (2000) in Historical Methods 33:137-153.

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