Post By RelatedRelated Post
Reported by April Taylor
Research reported by Pew Research and the New York Times is showing that nearly 1.2 million Americans who identified themselves as “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin,” on the 2000 census have now changed their race identification to “white” on the 2010 census. The astonishing revelation was presented at an annual meeting of the Population Association of America. This is an interesting finding since mainstream media reveres the Hispani demographic as a growing minority.
While Hispanics were not the only group to answer racial identification categories differently between the 2000 and 2010 census, they do represent the largest shift. Hispanics also represent the country’s fastest growing ethnic group by total number. Researchers believe that this shift is due largely to the fact that race is not considered an immutable characteristic for Hispanics like it is for those who identify as white, black, and Asian-American. The term Hispanic does not actually denote a race. Census forms inquire about race and ethnicity by asking two questions, one about whether a person is of Hispanic or Latino origin and another about racial identification.
Numbers show that 37 percent of those who identified ethnically as Hispanic or Latino chose to identify their racial identity as “some other race.” In addition, researchers found that around 7 percent of those who identified as Hispanic changed their racial identification from “some other race” in the 2000 census, to “white” on the 2010 census.
These new findings suggest that Hispanics may be assimilating in a way similar to Italian and Irish immigrants. An interesting component of this aspect is that while many have long believed that America will become a minority-majority country, with whites becoming the minority, Hispanics choosing to identify as white may mean that this tipping point either does not come as quickly or does not come at all. Another interesting outcome of this assimilation is that research shows that those Hispanics who identify as white have higher levels of education and income.
The intersection of race in America is always a winding one, and it will be interesting to see how the racial identification of Hispanics continues to evolve over time.