Learn More: Race and Ethnicity

What does this mean?

Race and ethnicity is the estimated number of people who classify themselves as being a member of a particular racial or ethnic group. It includes estimates for all males, females, adults and children. The estimates presented here are from the 2010 Census Redistricting Data SF. As part of the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau separated the categories of "Race" and "Hispanic Origin" and considers them two separate concepts. Therefore, they are presented separately on the Community Atlas. Additionally, it is important to note that the 2000 Census allowed people for the first time to select more than one race category to describe their racial identities. This approach continued in the 2010 Census.

Race & Ethnicity:

The U.S. Census Bureau regards race as a social definition, which means that the Census allows respondents to self-identify as being part of one or more race/ethnic categories. In defining the available categories, the Census does not conform to any biological, anthropological or genetic criteria.

The race categories presented in Census 2010 are:

Asian: "Asian" refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. It includes people who indicated their race or races as "Asian Indian," "Chinese," "Filipino," "Korean," "Japanese," "Vietnamese," or "Other Asian," or wrote in entries such as Burmese, Hmong, Pakistani, or Thai.

American Indian or Alaska Native: "American Indian and Alaska Native" refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. It includes people who indicated their race or races by marking this category or writing in their principal or enrolled tribe, such as Rosebud Sioux, Chippewa, or Navajo.

Black or African American: "Black or African American" refers to people having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicated their race or races as" "Black, African Am., or Negro," or wrote in entries such as African American, Afro American, Nigerian, or Haitian.

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander" refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who indicated their race or races as "Native Hawaiian," "Guamanian or Chamorro," "Samoan," or "Other Pacific Islander," or wrote in entries such as Tahitian, Mariana Islander, or Chuukese.

White: "White" refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicated their race or races as "White" or wrote in entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.

Some Other Race: "Some other race" was included in Census 2010 for respondents who were unable to identify with the five Office of Management and Budget race categories. Respondents who provided write-in entries such as Moroccan, South African, Belizean, or a Hispanic origin (for example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban) are included in the Some Other Race category.

Two or More Races: "Two or more races" was included in the Census 2010 to allow people to report more than one race category. All respondents to the Census who indicated more than one race have been collapsed into this category.


Hispanic Population:

The U.S. Census Bureau regards Hispanic origin as being different from race. In the 2010 Census they chose to separate "Race" and "Hispanic Origin" primarily because Hispanics can be of any race. The 2010 Census allows people to self-identify as being Hispanic or Not Hispanic.

Hispanic or Latino: "Hispanic or Latino" refers to a definition provided the Office of Management and Budget that states Hispanic or Latinos is: "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race."

Not Hispanic or Latino: "Not Hispanic or Latino" refers to any person who does not identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino.

Why is it important?

Knowing the estimated diversity of race and ethnicity for a particular area can be of use in many ways: 1) Assist in determining population needs; 2) Provide necessary information when applying for certain grants and funding; and 3) Help in identifying areas of different health, social and cultural considerations.

How are the data collected (methods)?

Every ten years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts its official population count of the United States. (It is referred to as the Decennial Census.) The most recent census was conducted in 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau collects this data in two ways. They first send out a mail-in census form. For those people who do not return their mail-in forms, the Census Bureau sends people to those homes to administer the form in person.

There are two census forms used during the Decennial Census. The first is the short-form, which is asked of every person and housing unit in the United States. On this form are a limited number of questions (Age, Hispanic or Latino origin, Household Relationship, Home Ownership, Number of People, Race, and Sex). The second is the American Community Survey (ACS), which is given to a sample of the population to ask more detailed questions on population, housing, and other social and economic characteristics. The information collected in the ACS is then estimated for the entire population annually.

In both the short and ACS forms, respondents were asked, "What is this person's race?" In response, people were allowed to mark more than one race. All respondents were also asked, "Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?" In response, people could mark "no" or "yes." If they marked "yes," the respondent could also indicate to which Hispanic/Latino group they most identify.

The data from the short and ACS forms are made public through the U.S. Census Bureau.

Source: U.S. Census Factfinder

Caveats and Limitations

When using these data, please consider the following:

  • We chose Census 2010 data to include on the Community Atlas because it is most appropriate for smaller geographic areas such as neighborhoods. More current population estimates, such as those from the American Community Survey (ACS), are typically for a county or city as a whole, not communities or neighborhoods. If you choose to use this data, please keep in mind that it is an estimate.
  • The data presented are from the 2010 Redistricting Data SF and Summary File 1 which were based on an attempt to count all citizens. This methodology has generally been well received with a higher than expected mail-in response rate of 72 percent. Additional information on the Census 2010 methodology can be found on the Census Bureau website.
  • In the 2000 U.S. Census, and again in 2010, respondents were allowed to choose more than one race category for the first time. Therefore, data regarding race from the 2000 Census are not directly comparable with any of the previous Census estimates. If you choose to look at changes in race between 2000 and any previous Census, please be aware of this fact.
  • The data has been reapportioned from the original boundaries provided to us in order to develop estimates for neighborhoods and communities. This has been done because not all data is reported for the same boundaries as the neighborhoods and communities on the Community Atlas. When using these data, view them as estimates for these neighborhoods and communities.

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