Video Briefing: Census Race Questions 101

By Luc Schuster

October 11, 2023

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The current official approach to asking about race and ethnicity came out of the Carter Administration in the late 1970’s, with decisions based on little public input or scientific guidance—after all, race is a social construct not grounded in any biological reality. Earlier this year, the Census Bureau announced the first large overhaul of these questions in almost 50 years, and their hope is to implement it sometime in 2024. In this video briefing, we quickly explain the current approach and then walk-through the proposed overhaul, which merges the two questions into one and creates a new category for people of Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) descent.

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