US Census issues statement regarding controversy over the term ‘Negro’

WASHINGTON, DC – The US Census Bureau issued the following statement regarding a controversy over using the term “Negro” in the 2010 Census:

“In response to questions concerning the 2010 Census Race question and the use of the term “Negro,” the Census Bureau has released the following news release:

Census Bureau Statement on 2010 Census Race Question

A test embedded in the 2010 Census will measure the effect of removing the term “Negro” on reports about a person’s racial identity. The results will be used to inform design changes for future surveys and the 2020 Census. In the 2000 Census, more than 50,000 persons chose to write down explicitly that they identified themselves as “Negro.”

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:
The Census Bureau included the term “Negro” because testing prior to Census 2000 indicated that numbers of respondents self-identified with this term.  Census 2000 data showed that 56,175 respondents wrote in the term “Negro” in response to the question on race, even though the term was included in the category label for a checkbox.   This does not include the unknown numbers of respondents who may have checked the box “Black, African Am., or Negro” because of the presence of the “Negro” identifier.

Research in the 2000s did not include studies of the effect of dropping “Negro” from the list “Black, African Am., or Negro” on responses. Such research is important to avoid unanticipated consequences of changing question wording on the outcome of a census.  As stated above, this research will be conducted as part of the 2010 decennial census.”