Census forms may add 'Hispanic' race box

Feb. 4, 2013 at 5:05 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. census officials said they're already debating whether to add a new race to the list of options for the 2020 form: Hispanic.

The possible addition has drawn passionate responses from both sides. Many Latinos dismiss the term "Hispanic" as too generic while others embraced the idea of distinguishing themselves from others of Caucasian heritage, the San Antonio Express-News said Monday.

In the 2010 Census, more than half of Latinos checked the "white" race box; 37 percent checked "some other race."

"That's how you know there's a problem," said Professor Jorge Chapa of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "The data on race is not very good when 37 percent say essentially 'none of the above.'"

Others argued the term "Hispanic" doesn't offer any better racial profile of the nation than the current form does, given the diverse nature of those with Latino heritage.

Dr. Fernando A. Guerra, who retired as director of health at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, calls it "a mistake, given the longstanding anthropological classification of Negroid, Mongoloid and Caucasian races that have served demographers, anthropologists and public health data gatherers and analysts quite well."

The matter won't officially have to be resolved until 2018, when Congress must approve the language on the census forms.

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