Italian Americans and other white ethnic groups will be asked their country of origin in the 2020 U.S. Census.
Since 1960, simply checking “white” was enough to identify race, but now there will be a follow-up prompt where citizens can, for example, write Italian, Irish, German, English, Lebanese and so on.
NPR reports “the federal government is now preparing to essentially ask non-Hispanic white people where they and their ancestors are from as part of the Census Bureau’s inquiry into their racial identity.”
Ken Prewitt, a former Census Bureau director, who served under the Clinton administration, says the census figures do need to be more accurate.
“A country with demographics as fluid as the U.S. has to adjust its statistics,” says Prewitt, who is also author of What Is Your Race?: The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans.
To get a better idea, read the instructions on the form the bureau is using in a practice run of the 2020 census in Rhode Island’s Providence County beginning in March.