Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Latino Race

Latinos see themselves as members of a distinct racial group:

The Census Bureau, preparing for the census in 2010, recently tried to eliminate the "some other race" option on its forms. From the bureau's perspective, too many people erroneously placed themselves in this group. But at the instigation of a Latino congressman from New York, José E. Serrano, Congress barred the move by conditioning funding for the census on the retention of the "other race" category. Serrano, a Democrat, claimed a victory for "millions of American Latinos." Latino civic organizations seem to agree, with both Mexican American and Puerto Rican civil rights groups praising his actions.

Here is the demographic analysis of Latino subgroups:

According to Brown University professor John Logan's analysis of the census and survey data, Latinos generally divide themselves into three racial camps. There are black Latinos, who identify as Latino ethnically and as black racially. This group, steady at just under 3% of the Latino population since 1980, numbers nearly a million in the United States. Next come white Latinos, who grew from 9 million in 1980 to just shy of 18 million in 2000. This doubling did not, however, keep pace with the growth of the Latino population as a whole. The proportion of Latinos claiming to be white has steadily declined, from 64% in 1980 to just under 50% in 2000.

Then there are those Logan calls "Latino Hispanics," who identify as "Hispanic" on the ethnicity question and as "other" on the race item. This population has steadily gained among all Latinos, from 34% in 1980 to nearly 47% in 2000.

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