Race and the 2010 Census

The “Census Tour” came to San Jose last week in an effort to promote awareness about the upcoming Census campaign.  San Jose residents will be asked ten questions.  Some of the questions are centered exclusively on race and ethnicity.  And, amazingly, one question contains labels that some people find offensive. 

Here are segments of the questions:

1)  How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010?

2)  Where there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1?

3)  Is this house, apartment, or mobile home owned by…(4 choices)

4)  What is your telephone number?
    “we may call if we don’t understand an answer.”

5)  Please provide information for each person living here.  Start with a person living here who owns or rents this house, apartment, or mobile home.  If the owner or renter lives somewhere else, start with any adult living here.  This will be Person 1.  What is Person 1’s name?  (print names below)

6)  What is Person 1’s sex?
        male or female

7)  What is Person 1’s age and what is Person 1’s date of birth?

8)  Is Person 1 Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?

“Asked since 1970, the data collected in this question are needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as under the Voting rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.  State and local governments may use the data to help plan and administer bilingual programs for people of Hispanic origin.”

9)  What is Person 1’s race?  (mark one or more boxes)
    Black, African Am., or Negro
    American Indian or Alaska Native
    Asian Indian
    Other Asian (print)
    Native Hawaiian
    Guamanian or Chamorro
    Other Pacific Islander (print)

    Some other race   (print)

10)  Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else?
      yes-  choices
                    among the choices…
                                          “in college housing”
                                          “in a nursing home”
                                          “in jail or prison”

source: 2010census.gov
The 2010 Census is a race-based marketing survey, not a national head count.  Why is there a question specifically for Hispanics?  Why is there a designation for specific nationalities (ie Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and more), but just one for “Whites?”  And, why does the Census Bureau make use of the terms “Black” and “Negro?”


  1. The tacit message that Obama’s census is sending to ethnic groups- particularly Hispanics is, “exaggerate your numbers and you’ll be rewarded.”

      • Heckle & Jeckle,

        I’ve often wondered. What’s it like being politically correct? Does it hurt when they insert the implant? Any side effects besides loss of original thinking?

        • > I’ve often wondered. What’s it like being politically correct?

          It’s like being a fish in the ocean.

          A. They aren’t aware that they are swimming in the ocean.

          B. They are also unaware that they are ingesting fish turds from other fish swimming in the ocean.

          Being politically correct prevents people from perceiving their own stupidity.

        • Galty,

          Are you presuming I’m trying to be PC or the census?  The census has the word “Negro” in it.  There’s only one word less PC than that.

          As for me, how’s this?  Ayn Rand was a floozy.

          Either way, you clearly missed my point.  But you’re not really here to listen, are you?

      • Paranoid,

        Not sure John Galt is xenophobic – look what our fair city did last year.  Cinco de Mayo was formally celebrated in Downtown but our country’s Independence Day was ignored.

    • This message was very likely submitted by James Rowen.  Take a look at Rowen’s site : mission city lantern …where everyone and anyone that disagrees with him is labeled a bigot or a fool.  So much for tolerance.

      • Hardly.

        I always have thought you wrote the most insightful columns.  Thanks for the plug on the site.  Our last post about your writing was, and always will be, quite complimentary as you do work hard to be a friend to every citizen.

        Keep up the good work, and relax, we think you are doing great.

        • What bulloney. 
          Every San Jose Inside reader should review Rowen’s site.  It’s a strange place where everyone and anyone that disagrees with the author is labeled a bigot or a fool…all in the name of tolerance.
          see: mission city lantern.com

        • Keep the traffic up.  I do think everyone should read San Jose Inside and Watch Dog every day as they have the best writers, and Protect San Jose, which has the best research, and Politicon Valley which is the quickest to the post. These four make up your morning juice and coffee.  The Lantern is not at all processed meat, but like the bran flakes you need to regulate the pipes.  PC should be taken like Lucky Charms, plenty of gradulated sugar and wrinkled chemicals, and his box of thoughts always has a ten cent toy inside, half life of a minute.

  2. We’ve used census and the complimentary American Community Survey data extensively.  What’s interesting is that the census is required to be conducted every ten years by the constitution, and serves to apportion representation in the house of representatives.  Every decade some states gain and some lose.  Since having a little data about a lot of people is really useful, people have been mining the data for over a century.  This is the 13th Census I think since 1790.

    In the past, they did a long form which sampled about 16% of the population and captured a much richer data set including things like commute patterns, employment stuff and other details.  It helps to plan good public works if you have some idea of what the real needs are, and this data helps accurately do that.  They’ve not stopped doing the long form and now do the American Communities Survey seperately and more frequently (3-5 years) which is helpful, because a lot can change in 10 years in a big area like San Jose.

    As far as racism and prejudice, I asked what the difference was between race and ethnicity and was told that hispanic was an ethnicity and not a race, just as Korean was an ethnicity within the Asian race.  I don’t know if this is offensive or not, but that’s the same way they’ve been doing it for atleast the last 4 or 5 census going back 50 years that I’ve looked at.  You can actually go back as far as you want to and get information from them for free at


    Look at your home towns for a few data sets 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and compare total population, race, and some other factors.  It shows the real growth and evolution of American communities that many people don’t grasp from behind the air conditioned windows of their SUVs or Hybrids.

    One last note, even with full efforts and good faith on all sides, many will still falsely report information out of fear or foolishness.  So the census may never be accurate, but its better than nothing for really knowing how many people live where, and little about who they are and some basic potential needs.

  3. Title 13 Section 7 Subchapter 2 221.a says that there is a fine of “not more than $100” for not answering “any of the questions” for the census. $500 for providing false information.

    If you object, it’s cheaper to refuse. Refuse the whole thing and it looks like it’s $1000, unless “may we call you if you don’t understand” counts, then it’s $1100. Though I would dispute that question #2 is different from question #1 since it basically asks if you answered #1 truthfully.

    Is this an unlawful search? Does the constitution allow for the government to demand to know the occupants of a residence without suspicion of a crime?

  4. Paranoid,

    I clearly missed your point?
      <How exactly will they be rewarded?     
      He’ll declare Cinco de Mayo a national holiday?
      Save your xenophobic theories for the conspiracy
    I think I got your point all right. Your point was to insult me. But you want a mulligan? OK, I’ll give you a mulligan. I’ll answer your question as though it had been asked by a person who’s interested in what other people think.

    The census is used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives. The more people counted in a given area, the more Congressional representation that area will have. By having greater representation, they will be rewarded with more money for more programs. Ethnic people, legal and otherwise, tend to concentrate in areas that vote Democrat. The more people counted in these areas, the greater chance of more seats in the House being occupied by Democrats, which just happens to be the party to which our President belongs.
    This particular census is making an unprecedented effort to “reach out” to those who historically would have shied away from Government officials. I don’t happen to think this unprecedented effort to count as many illegal immigrants as possible is by accident. It’s a calculated political decision.

    You can argue whether this is right or wrong, but don’t insult my intelligence by suggesting that the methods census organizers CHOOSE to use don’t make any difference in the results.

  5. <I think I got your point all right. Your point was to insult me.>

    Still wrong.  Sensitive, aren’t we?  Well, okay, I was being a little insulting on purpose.  But my main point is the fun thing about conspiracy theories is that we can come up with them to justify about any belief we already hold.

    For example, I could just as easily say that the reason the census form has a specific question about Hispanics is because the government is trying to find the best areas to do raids on illegal immigrants.  It’s about as factual as your theory that Obama’s trying to rig the results for Democrats.

    • > . . . I could just as easily say that the reason the census form has a specific question about Hispanics is because the government is trying to find the best areas to do raids on illegal immigrants.  It’s about as factual as your theory that Obama’s trying to rig the results for Democrats.

      Nope.  Galty’s theory is more factual.

      Your’s is merely contentious nonreality.

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