The State of Hispanic Race and Ethnicity: Census 2020 Changes and Implications for Addressing Social Inequalities
On November 9, 2017, the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity convened a distinguished group of thought leaders, scholars, researchers, practitioners, and policy makers whose collective expertise contributed to the national conversation on implications of proposed changes to the 2020 census.
The timing of this conference is critical as it comes as the U.S. Census Bureau considers revising how it asks Americans about their racial and Hispanic identity. Although Hispanics/Latinos have had a long history residing in the U.S., there have been several challenges in developing the wording and question format for this population. As the fastest growing population and the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority (57.5 million) which constitute 17.8% of the nation’s total population, the collection of data on this group and how it is collected is critical for the nation.
The conference created a space for interdisciplinary dialogue about the use of racial and ethnic data for interrogating social inequalities, particularly among diverse Latina/o/x communities. Attendees engaged panelists in an intellectual and politically challenging conversation as they sought answers to accurate measurement of population demographics.
Dr. Ruth Enid Zambrana expressed the importance of the topic to the audience by stating, "Future information collected by the Census will have far-reaching ramifications for us as individuals, researchers, and policymakers in helping us measure and close the gap in social inequalities, racial discrimination, political representation and the distribution of resources. It is critical that we consider the impact of these changes and engage in these dialogues in other spaces, classrooms, departments, offices, and community groups, so that all are informed and have a voice in these changes."
The event was sponsored by the College of the Arts and Humanities, Center for Global Migration Studies, Critical Race Initiative, Department of Sociology, Department of Women’s Studies, The Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Diversity and Inclusion, Latin American Studies Center; Maryland Population Research Center; Office of Community Engagement; and US Latina/o Studies Program. The event was recorded and will be posted on crge.umd.edu in late November. (By Diana M. Guelespe)
Accelerating Systemic Change Network (ASCN)