A project of Brooklyn Historical Society
Interracial Brooklyn
Close-up of the 2010 American Community Survey form. CLICK TO ENLARGE

The census definitions of race and ethnicity have changed repeatedly over time. The 2010 American Community Survey had Race and Hispanicity as separate questions (see above), with explicit instructions that “For this Survey, Hispanic origins are not races.”

OK, so what are Hispanic origins, then?

Well, Hispancity is an “ethnicity,” rather than a “race.” The US government has lots of policies relating to race and ethnicity, so the government has standard definitions and classifications that they like to use (see the 1997 Office of Management and Budget revisions of racial classification).