In his new book, “What is Your Race? The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans,” former Census Bureau director Ken Prewitt recommends taking the race question off the decennial census:
He recommends gradual changes, integrating the race and national origin questions while improving both. In particular, he would replace the main “race” question by a “race or origin” question, with the instruction to “Mark one or more” of the following boxes: “White,” “Black, African Am., or Negro,” “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin,” “American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Asian”, “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander,” and “Some other race or origin.” Then the next question is to write in “specific race, origin, or enrolled or principal tribe.”
His suggestion is to go with these questions in 2020 and 2030, then in 2040 “drop the race question and use only the national origin question.” He’s also relying on the American Community Survey to gather a lot of the demographic information that is useful for so many purposes.