Race and the Census: Effect on the Social Context of Cultural and Social Identity

Race and the Census: Effect on the Social Context of Cultural and Social Identity

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The focus of this research study is to explore the construct of race in the census survey and the effect that it has on the social context of both cultural and social identity. These changes are based on the evolving landscape of the population as it pertains to the characteristics of its people. The Census was first administered in the 1790 and would take place every ten years . Its main purpose was to better respond to the needs of its citizens and how the government would represent the growing population. The Census provides the government with information ranging from household size to income; however, it is perhaps the statistics supplied by the Census on race that allow for the most interesting analysis . The identification of race has been revised every year of the census for the last two hundred and fourteen years since the first census in 1790. This identification has shown an alarming rate of changes in racial and social classification. Such changes in the Census Survey that expanded helped “the questions on race and origin,” have been modified “to better reflect the country’s growing diversity” among the changing population. David R. Harris and Jeremiah Sim point out that it was not until 1980 that Asian Americans were able to specify their origin as Asian Indian as opposed to Asian in general. The option to indicate Hispanic origin was not added until 1970, despite its growing proportion of the population . These are a few of the changes that have encompassed the growing problem of the idea of race in the census.
What will be covered in this research are an analysis of the social and racial composition of the United States and how this analysis supports the integration of races through the census that makes the Unite...


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...entieth-Century America.” The Journal of American History, 83 no. 1(June 1996): 44-69.

Focuses on racial ideologies in the twentieth-century America. Decline and fall of scientific racism to an understanding of modernist racial ideology; Legacy of racialism and the `Kirby' case; Culturalist challenge to racialism.

Steckel, Richard H. "The Quality of Census Data for Historical Inquiry: A Research Agenda." Social Science History 15, no. 4 (1991): 579-599.

This article examines the types of error found in the U.S. census, their consequences for historical research, techniques for estimating error, and estimates of error rates particularly “underenumeration” in censuses of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The discussion highlights problems with the population manuscripts, though some techniques applied to this source could be extended to other schedules.

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