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Race Reporting in the Census of 2000: How Do Multiracial Groups Compare to Monoracial Groups on Key Characteristics?

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionFarley, Reynolds. 2002. "Race Reporting in the Census of 2000: How Do Multiracial Groups Compare to Monoracial Groups on Key Characteristics?" PSC Research Report No. 02-516. July 2002.

Prior to 2000, U.S. censuses assumed that respondents had just one racial identity. The Census of 2000 allowed respondents to identify with one or more of the 6 major racial classifications. Thus, people identified themselves as members of one race or identified with one of 57 combinations of two or more of those races. In addition to answering this complex and sometimes confusing race question, all respondents were asked to indicate whether or not their origin was Spanish or Hispanic.

The study reported here analyzed data from the Census of 2000 and the Census 2000 Supplemental Survey to describe the multiracial population and compare it to the monoracial population in the U.S. Clear geographic patterns emerged, with multiracial identification being most common in Hawaii and the Pacific Rim states and least frequent in the Deep South. Age patterns also emerged: respondents under age 15 were more likely to be multiracial than were older individuals. The most commonly reported multiple races were: White and Other Race (Spanish origin); White and American Indian; White and Asian; and Black and Other Race (Spanish-origin).

Dataset(s): Census of 2000. Census 2000 Supplemental Survey.

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