Hispanic or Latino Origin
The data on the Hispanic or Latino population were derived from answers to a question that was asked of all people. The terms "Hispanic," "Latino," and "Spanish" are used interchangeably. Some respondents identify with all three terms while others may identify with only one of these three specific terms. Hispanics or Latinos who identify with the terms "Hispanic," "Latino," or "Spanish" are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish categories listed on the questionnaire ("Mexican," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban") as well as those who indicate that they are "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin." People who do not identify with one of the specific origins listed on the questionnaire but indicate that they are "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin" are those whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish-speaking countries of Central or South America, or the Dominican Republic. Up to two write-in responses to the "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin" category are coded.
Origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.
Hispanic origin is used in numerous programs and is vital in making policy decisions. These data are needed to determine compliance with provisions of antidiscrimination in employment and minority recruitment legislation. Under the Voting Rights Act, data about Hispanic origin are essential to ensure enforcement of bilingual election rules. Hispanic origin classifications used by the Census Bureau and other federal agencies meet the requirements of standards issued by the Office of Management and Budget in 1997 (Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity). These standards set forth guidance for statistical collection and reporting on race and ethnicity used by all federal agencies.
Some tabulations are shown by the origin of the householder. In all cases where the origin of households, families, or occupied housing units is classified as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish, the origin of the householder is used. (For more information, see the discussion of householder under "Household Type and Relationship.")
Coding of Hispanic Origin Write-in Responses
There were two types of coding operations: (1) automated coding where a write-in response was automatically coded if it matched a write-in response already contained in a database known as the "master file," and (2) expert coding, which took place when a write-in response did not match an entry already on the master file, and was sent to expert coders familiar with the subject matter. During the coding process, subject-matter specialists reviewed and coded written entries from the "Yes, another Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin" write-in response category on the Hispanic origin question.
Editing of Hispanic Origin Responses
If an individual did not provide a Hispanic origin response, their origin was allocated using specific rules of precedence of household relationship. For example, if origin was missing for a natural-born child in the household, then either the origin of the householder, another natural-born child, or spouse of the householder was allocated. If Hispanic origin was not reported for anyone in the household and origin could not be obtained from a response to the race question, then the Hispanic origin of a householder in a previously processed household with the same race was allocated. Surnames (Spanish and Non-Spanish) were used to assist in allocating an origin or race.
Beginning in 1996, the American Community Survey question was worded "Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?" In 2008, the question wording changed to "Is this person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?" From 1999 to 2007, the Hispanic origin question provided an instruction, "Mark (X) the "No" box if not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino." The 2008 question, as well as the 1996 to 1998 questions, did not have this instruction. In addition, in 2008, the "Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish" category provided examples of six Hispanic origin groups (Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on).
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have Hispanic or Latino origin distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the Hispanic or Latino origin distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
The ACS question on Hispanic origin was revised in 2008 to make it consistent with the Census 2010 Hispanic origin question. The reporting of specific Hispanic groups (e.g., Colombian, Dominican, Spaniard, etc.) increased at the national level. The change in estimates for 2011 may be due to demographic changes, as well as factors including questionnaire changes, differences in ACS population controls, and methodological differences in the population estimates. Caution should be used when comparing 2011 estimates to estimates from previous years. The 2011 Hispanic origin question is different from the Census 2000 question on Hispanic origin, therefore comparisons should be made with caution. More information about the changes in the estimates is available at http://www.census.gov/population/hispanic/files/acs08researchnote.pdf
See the 2011 Code List for Hispanic Origin Code List.