Working Paper No. 195 | June 1997

“Multiracials,” Racial Classification, and American Intermarriage—The Public's Interest

How the census of 2000 is to count “multiracial” people is a hot topic in Washington. A federal task force presented a draft of its recommendations in July, and the Office of Management and Budget, after hearing reactions, will make a final ruling in late October. As immigration and intermarriage increase, this issue is becoming more important not only for the Census Bureau, but also for every government agency that counts race and every civil rights case. Senior Scholar Joel Perlmann examines the current methodology, discusses proposed reforms, and concludes that the Census Bureau should allow respondents to declare multiple racial ancestries.

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