The National Advisory Committee (NAC) on race and ethnicity met last week to discuss the results from the 2020 Census and plans for the 2030 Census. They are ready to begin looking at changes that would combine racial and ethnic questions, including adding a MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) category. Also, a combination question that includes race and ethnicity would be examined, unlike separate questions (one for race and another for ethnicity) in previous census years.

It was brought up in the meeting that 33.8 million people reported multiple race groups, up from 9 million in 2010. However, the Census Bureau does not have plans to include a true Multiracial category.

Prior to the current results, we were repeatedly told that the biggest problem was the Some Other Race category, due to the over usage and misuse of that answer. However, now the Bureau representatives say that the Some Other Race category is not the problem. They suddenly stated that the decennial census problem is the two separate questions format. “We are not surprised by the results, our research predicted them,” said Merarys Rios-Vargas, Chief of the Ethnicity and Ancestry Branch at the Census Bureau at the meeting. Hmmm.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will ultimately determine how the questions are asked on the 2030 Census and other federal government questionnaires with input from the Census Bureau and advisory groups.

We also found out that Multiracial results were not included in the Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) that delves into the accuracy of the data produced by the census. They said that they released estimates of coverage for the six major race groups alone or in combination, yet “in combination” should have included Multiracial people. It seems as if there is some confusion at the Census Bureau and the Multiracial population no longer counts. Some things never change.