Document Type



Demography, Population, and Ecology | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


This review focuses on how Latinos report their race. This is an area that has recently experienced a major surge of interest in both government and academic circles. This review of the literature examines how and why Latinos report their race on the census, in surveys and in more qualitative studies. It reviews the vibrant and growing scholarly literature relevant to the questions of the placement – by self or others – of Latinos along the US color line, what determines it and how the Census has coped and is coping with it. We begin with a brief review of the history of Latino classification in the census and then discuss the factors influencing racial reporting. These include national origin and skin color, acculturation and generational status, socioeconomic status, perceived discrimination and identification with others who have experienced actual discrimination, location, and question format. We end with a discussion of the implications of the recent 2010 Alternative Questionnaire Experiment conducted by the census, and conclude with suggestions for future research.

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Original Citation:

“Latino Racial Reporting: To Be or Not To Be,” by Clara E. Rodríguez, Michael Miyawaki and Grigoris Argeros, Sociological Compass, (2013) 7:5:390-403.