Race And The Census: Effect On The Social Context Of Cultural And Social Identity

2049 words - 8 pages

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 United States culturally diverse. The census was fundamental in the economic distribution of funds within a set population. This is based of demographic and social tabulations that help balance the funding based on population integration. Through residential racial integration, the continual influx of immigrants, and the emergence of a multiracial population, America has remained a “mosaic” of cultures – separate entities combining to create a great diversity. While indeed, some races have mixed through interracial marriages, cultural differences have be sustained and diversity in this country has actually increased .

The theory of race in the United States has been a constructed and reconstructed term in the context of social identity. Every day, on employment applications, housing applications, college admissions and other official documents, also once every 10 years on U.S. Census Bureau forms; Americans are asked to identify themselves as one of four racial categories , and to designate themselves as Hispanic or "non-Hispanic." The census has played a role in the determining how the American public views “race,” that it could be something that can be measured and documented. Peggy Pascoe in 1996 explored...

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