NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Counting Persons Of Mixed Race Or Ethnicity

March 15, 2000

Last October, the Clinton administration announced it would allow people to identify themselves as members of more than one race on their census forms. Now the administration says that those declaring themselves as white and members of any other racial or ethnic group will be counted as a minority.

  • The new policy means that there are 63 racial combinations that the U.S. will officially recognize.
  • And because Hispanics are considered an ethnic group -- not a race -- the policy means that there are 63 racial classifications for non-Hispanics and 63 more for Hispanics.
  • The 2000 census will be the first to allow people to check more than one category under "race."
  • "The first allocation rule is that if you are white and anything else, you are allocated to the minority," said Anita Hodgekiss, deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights.

While seeing progress in not putting every American into single racial categories, Harvard University Professor Stephen Thernstrom commented: "It's not just one of four or five boxes they are putting you into, it's 63! And that's not even counting Hispanics."

Source: Steven A. Holmes, "New Policy on Census Says Those Listed as White and Minority Will Be Counted as Minority," New York Times, March 11, 2000.


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