Frequently Asked Questions

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What does the U.S. Census Bureau produce by race and Hispanic origin?

U.S. federal government agencies must adhere to standards issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in October 1997, which specify that  race  and Hispanic origin (also known as ethnicity) are two separate and distinct concepts.  These standards generally reflect a social definition of race and ethnicity recognized in this country and they do not conform to any biological, anthropological, or genetic criteria.  The standards include five minimum categories for data on race:  "American Indian or Alaska Native," "Asian," "Black or African American," "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander," and "White."  There are two minimum categories for data on ethnicity:  "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino."  The concept of race reflects self-identification by people according to the race or races with which they most closely identify.  Persons who report themselves as Hispanic can be of any race and are identified as such in our data tables. The following sources provide data on race and Hispanic origin population:

  • Population estimates by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin are produced annually for the U.S., states, and counties. Historical data are also provided in the Archive Files.  Population projections out to 2050 are provided by race and Hispanic origin for the nation.
  • The Current Population Survey (CPS) provides national level data on the social, economic, and demographic characteristics of selected race groups, both current and past.  Tables on the Hispanic population in the U.S are also available, both current and past.
  • The American Community Survey (ACS) provides sample data from the 1-year or 3-year estimates based on population size.  Selected Population Profiles (select from the right side) enable you to select characteristics by Race or Ethnic Groups (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc.)and by Country of Birth.
  • Census 2000 and 1990 census data on race are also available as well as the Hispanic population.  In addition, data can be accessed for Census 2000 using American FactFinder and Summary File 2 and Summary File 4.
  • Census 2000 brief  PDF "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin" describes these concepts and also provides how the race categories used in Census 2000 were defined on page 2.

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