Today I received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau reminding me that the 2010 Census would be mailed to me next week and requesting that I return it as soon as possible. The Census is a civic duty and is required by our Constitution. Every American citizen should willingly fill out and return the form. The letter stresses that “Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share” of government funds.
Accuracy is very important, but is often quite difficult. Knowing this, I humbly offer this guide on the tricky questions #8 and #9 on the form. The other questions on this short 10 question form are very straight-forward and should not cause any confusion.
Let’s examine question #8 :
Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
The confusion about question #8 stems from the perception that the Census is concerned about your ancestry. This is not the case. The Census wants to know if you are unable to speak English.
As the description suggests, this question applies to first generation immigrants. If you were born in a foreign country that’s primary language is Spanish (or another Hispanic language), you answer should be “Yes” and the name of the country. If you were born in the United States, then your answer should be “No.”
On to question #9:
What is Person 1’s race?
Question #9 is a mess. The Census offers a mishmash of colors, nationalities, and even a U.S. State as possible answers. Choosing an accurate answer is problematic to say the least. Given the suggestions, it seems obvious that the Census Bureau doesn’t have a clear definition of “Race.” Luckily, I remember my biology classes, so I can assist. A race is a species that is potentially capable of interbreeding. For example, a Poodle and a St. Bernard are capable of interbreeding and producing offspring. Even though both animals look very different physically, they both belong to the race of “Dog.”
Now that we’ve established that, the most accurate answer becomes clear. Choose the option “Other” and write in “Human.”
I hope my guide proves useful to you. Thank you for reading it.
If you have any questions, please add a comment and I’ll do my best to find the answer.