in 1990 and are projected to be 1 in 3 for the 2000 census. Second, there is a growing diversity within minority groups by nativity, national origin, and socioeconomic status. Finally, there is a greater recognition that people have multiple racial and ethnic identities.


Beginning with the 1970 census, the Census Bureau provided data on race and Hispanic origin to meet several statutory requirements, enacted in recent decades. For all practical purposes, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and as amended requires the director of the Census Bureau to provide decennial census data, including race and Hispanic origin, for bilingual election determinations. Public Law 94-311 (15 U.S.C. 1516a) requires the collection of Hispanic origin data in censuses and surveys since 1976. Race and Hispanic origin data are provided to the states for legislative redistricting (Public Law 94-171) and to the Department of Justice for the review of redistricting plans. The Census Bureau collects and tabulates race and Hispanic-origin data in compliance with the federal Statistical Directive 15.1 In addition, the Census Bureau provides race and ethnicity data to other government agencies for their use in meeting statutory requirements and program needs.

In the past 30 years, the Census Bureau has placed increasing efforts on providing detailed and comprehensive classification of race and ethnicity. For the 1970, 1980, and 1990 censuses, additional categories for race and ethnicity were included in the questionnaires. The Census Bureau implemented research and testing programs and extensive consultations on race, Hispanic origin, and ancestry items in response to requests from different groups and laws in response to growing federal data needs primarily related to civil rights compliance.

The Census Bureau has utilized an evolutionary process for developing these categories. In terms of understanding Hispanic status, it introduced a Spanish-origin item on the long form in the 1970 census that was later refined in 1980 and 1990 for the short form. With respect to racial status, the 1980 and 1990 censuses became more inclusive of the Asian and Pacific Islander groups, and the American Indian and Alaskan Native populations. The coding of write-ins for the ''other race" category was introduced in 1980 and 1990 to obtain data on smaller groups and to improve the quality of data. In addition, the 1980 census introduced an ancestry item to replace the "place of birth of parents" question that had been on the census since 1870. The question was designed to reflect a more general ethnic identity into the third and later generations. Use of these items for field tests and actual census enumeration has been accompanied by outreach and promotion programs to minority communities.

The Census Bureau has invested considerable resources in editing and coding responses into the current categories. Entries in "other race" responses numbered 9.8 million in 1990. Write-ins from the race item numbered over 300

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