The US Census is considering making Hispanic a race, but is it accurate?

The US Census is considering making Hispanic a race, but is it accurate? (Courtesy Rob Lewine/Getty Images)

Latinos identify as multiple races at much higher rate than other groups

In a report that will continue the conversation on Latino identity, the Census Bureau released a brief on Thursday which looked at the multiple race population in the United States. Fully one-third of Hispanics identified as more than one race, far outpacing any other groups. In fact, all of the other groups combined (258 million people) only numbered 6 million multiple race respondents, but Latinos at 50.5 million of the total population, came in at more than 3 million saying they were more than one race.

Besides the complexity of Latino identity, the way the Census is structured also leads Hispanics to try to find ways to respond. Ethnicity is looked at separately than race, so many Latinos will write Hispanic as their race and possibly add any other group they identify with as well.

RELATED: “We are American,” say respondents to NBC Latino survey

“Hispanics may be any race,” says Nicholas A. Jones who co-wrote report on multiple races. “If someone says they’re Guatemalan, we don’t make them white. If they say they are Filipino and Hispanic we don’t make them Asian.

For the purposes of the Census, many Latinos fell into the “Some Other Race” category. Jones say 97 percent of the “Some Other Race” category were Hispanic.

“Some Other Race” includes all other responses not included in the White, Black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander race categories described above,” the report states. “Respondents reporting entries such as multiracial, mixed, interracial, or a Hispanic or Latino group (for example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Spanish) in response to the race question are included in this category.”

Jones said the data is in line with what the 2000 Census found as well. Of course, the question of Latino identity has been addressed often, as it really resonates with Hispanics who don’t always easily find categories to fit into. According to a Pew Hispanic study in April, “Half (51 percent) of Latinos identify their race as “some other race” or volunteer “Hispanic/Latino.” Meanwhile, 36 percent identify their race as white, and 3 percent say their race is black.

RELATED: Latinos prefer Hispanic as a race category, says Census

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