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'Negro' eliminated from U.S. census forms

Feb. 26, 2013 at 7:57 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Census Bureau announced it is removing the term "Negro" as an option for race on its surveys and replacing it with "black" or "African-American."

The organization had used the term on its surveys and forms for more than 100 years of use, ABC News reported Monday.

The new language will be used on the Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey next year. The survey is distributed to more than 3.5 million households in the United States.

The government moved to end the use of the word "Negro" because it has come to be viewed as offensive and outdated by some people. The term dates back five centuries to the Portuguese and Spanish word for black to describe the people of sub-Saharan Africa, ABC News said.

The U.S. census' descriptors of race were initially limited in its first survey in 1790. The racial categories were listed as "free white," "all other free persons" and "slaves." It wasn't until 1900 when the bureau used the term "Negro" to identify people of African descent.

"Negro" was nearly eliminated from census forms in 2010 but it was decided against because the bureau believed there was still a portion of the United States that identified with the term, particularly older African-Americans living in the South, ABC reported.

"Some of the commentary on the question comes from people offended by the term. I apologize to them. I am confident that the intent of my colleagues in using the same wording as Census 2000 was to make sure as many people as possible saw words that matched their self-identities. Full inclusiveness was the goal," said former Census Bureau director Robert Groves in a blog post after the 2010 census.

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