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Census Rules are Being Changed by Biden Administration to Classify Latino/Hispanic People as Races rather than Ethnicities, which could be Problematic

The Biden administration gathered a group of civil servants to reconsider the use of racial categories in the US Census, and they have proposed improvements to the way the census collects data on race.

Most importantly, according to Forbes, the committee has recommended developing a new racial category for those from the Middle East and North Africa. The experts suggested that Latino and Hispanic identities be reclassified as a race.

The Office of Management and Budget recently requested a working group to reconsider the racial and ethnic categories used in the US census. Under the recommendations they made were these adjustments. The group also suggested deleting the term “Negro” as an option for Black and doing away with phrases like “minority” and “majority” to characterize various racial groups. These changes would be implemented for the 2030 census.

Several major racial classifications, such as American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, Black, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and White, are listed in the most recent census. Alternative labels are allowed for several of these categories, like “African American” or “Negro” for Black.

Some subdivide the categories according to different ethnicities or sub-groups; for example, the Asian category offers choices for Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and more. However, some scholars and advocates have claimed that these classifications are insufficient, inadequate, or unnecessarily complicated.