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Valuable New Datasets on Race and Ethnicity From the U.S. Census Bureau

Written by:

During my tenure as director of the U.S. Census Bureau, I have met with hundreds of users of Census Bureau data across America including partners, state, local and tribal government officials, community groups and businesses. I appreciate their willingness to engage in a two-way flow of ideas, suggestions and concerns —and listened carefully to what they said. A key message that emerged was the need for more relevant data that better captures their local experience and reflects the rich diversity of their communities and neighbors.

One clear takeaway was the expressed value of disaggregated data, especially by race and ethnicity. To better understand the increasing complexities of our communities, we need data that better reflect our nation’s demographic characteristics (such as age, sex, relationship and racial and ethnic groups) and geographic levels. Combining these data with information about housing, voting, language, employment and education can create great potential for understanding economic development possibilities, addressing community needs and mitigating inequities. The data can also be used to help governments and communities enforce antidiscrimination laws, regulations and policies

It is for these reasons I’m pleased to tell you about a selection of our upcoming data releases. Some are counts from the 2020 Census, some are estimates of population totals between decades and others flow from the American Community Survey (ACS). All include important data on race and ethnicity in America.

May 25, 2023: Demographic and Housing Characteristics File (DHC) and Demographic Profile

Data already released from the 2020 Census showed us that our nation is becoming increasingly diverse. We want to ensure our statistics continue to capture that diversity – and on May 25, we’re set to release more data from the 2020 Census: the DHC and Demographic Profile. These data products provide demographic and housing characteristics of local communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. We’ll also provide resources like data visualizations, webinars and how-to guides to help communities explore and use the data.

This release will include a wealth of population data on topics like age, sex, families and households, homeownership and vacant and occupied housing. Many of the topics will also be available by race and ethnicity. The Demographic Profile provides an overview of topics in the 2020 Census in one, easy-to-reference table for geographies down to the census tract level. And the DHC provides more detailed tables, many down to the block level.  

June 15, 2023: ACS Selected Population and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Tables

On June 15, we plan to release the 2017-2021 ACS Selected Population and AIAN tables for those interested in more detailed tables for race, Hispanic origin, tribal and ancestry populations. These two data products, which we release approximately every five years, contain the greatest level of socioeconomic characteristics data such as educational attainment, occupational status and poverty for specific population groups.

Our Selected Population tables are available for selected race, Hispanic origin, tribal and ancestry populations. And our American Indian and Alaska Native tables are available for selected tribal populations, with more detailed tribal categories than in the Selected Population Tables.

June 2023: Population Estimates Demographics Release

The Census Bureau in June is also scheduled to release its annual official estimates of the nation, states and counties by sex, age, race and Hispanic origin through our Population Estimates Program. Statistics will be available for Puerto Rico and its municipios by age and sex. These estimates are important indicators of recent demographic changes and are used in federal funding allocations.

Demographic components of population change (births, deaths and migration) are produced at the national, state and county levels of geography. Additionally, housing unit estimates are produced for the nation, states and counties.

September 2023: Detailed Demographic and Housing Characteristics File A (Detailed DHC-A)

Finally, in September, we’re excited to release the Detailed Demographic and Housing Characteristics File A. This release will contain data for disaggregated racial and ethnic groups and AIAN tribes and villages. The 2020 Census Detailed DHC-A will include data for more detailed groups than ever before because of improvements made to the race question design, data collection and coding processes. These improvements enabled us to collect more detailed race and ethnicity data, including data for detailed White and Black or African American groups (such as German, Lebanese, Nigerian and Jamaican) for the first time through dedicated write-in response areas on the questionnaire.

The Detailed DHC-A will provide population counts for approximately 370 detailed race and ethnic groups, and approximately 1,200 AIAN tribes and villages. This product will also include statistics on sex by age for selected age categories for detailed race and ethnic population groups and AIAN tribes and villages that meet certain population thresholds.

The Detailed DHC-A will have data for the nation, states, counties, census tracts, places and American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Home Land Areas. It allows us to provide more detailed statistics for race and ethnic groups with larger populations, while at the same time ensuring we’re meeting the highest standards for protecting the confidentiality of your information.

Data will also be available for detailed and regional race and Hispanic origin groups and AIAN tribes and villages. Regional race and Hispanic origin groups – which are new for 2020 – include people who identify as Caribbean, Middle Eastern and North African, American Indian, Polynesian and many others. Data for race groups and AIAN tribes and villages will be available for the “alone” as well as the “alone or in any combination” populations.

These data releases illustrate our commitment to developing statistics that more accurately reflect our ever-changing nation, offering the rich mosaic representing who we are as a nation. Such data serve and benefit everyone, including our nation’s underserved groups.

I want to thank the many communities and stakeholders who let us know just how important these data are to them. In particular, I want to thank everyone who provided us with feedback on our demonstration data products, including the DHC and Demographic Profile and the Detailed DHC-A. Your feedback proved invaluable and it allowed us to make the necessary improvements to the confidentiality protection mechanisms, while preserving quality statistics with high utility.

Also, we offer a big thank you to the public for your responses to Census Bureau censuses and surveys. Your participation is what makes these valuable statistics on our nation’s people, places and economy possible!

Community groups, elected officials, businesses, educators and many others rely on data releases like these to understand the populations of their states, counties, cities and towns. Here at the Census Bureau, we’ll continue to strengthen ties with our communities as well as our data users.  We will continue to prioritize the development of data tools and products tailored to better serve different user communities.

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