The data on the Hispanic or Latino population, which was asked of all people, were derived from answers to long-form questionnaire Item 5, and short-form questionnaire Item 7. The terms "Spanish," "Hispanic origin," and "Latino" 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 "Spanish," "Hispanic," or "Latino" are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the questionnaire - "Mexican," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban" - as well as those who indicate that they are "other Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino." People who do not identify with one of the specific origins listed on the questionnaire but indicate that they are "other Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino" are those whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish-speaking countries of Central or South America, the Dominican Republic, or people identifying themselves generally as Spanish, Spanish-American, Hispanic, Hispano, Latino, and so on. All write-in responses to the "other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" category were 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 Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race.
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 Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino, the origin of the householder is used. (For more information, see the discussion of householder under "Household Type and Relationship.")
If an individual could not provide a Hispanic origin response, their origin was assigned using specific rules of precedence of household relationship. For example, if origin was missing for a natural-born daughter in the household, then either the origin of the householder, another natural-born child, or the spouse of the householder was assigned. If Hispanic origin was not reported for anyone in the household, the origin of a householder in a previously processed household with the same race was assigned. This procedure is a variation of the general imputation procedures described in "Accuracy of the Data," and is similar to those used in 1990, except that for Census 2000, race and Spanish surnames were used to assist in assigning an origin. (For more information, see the "Comparability" section below.)
There are two important changes to the Hispanic origin question for Census 2000. First, the sequence of the race and Hispanic origin questions for Census 2000 differs from that in 1990; in 1990, the race question preceded the Hispanic origin question. Testing prior to Census 2000 indicated that response to the Hispanic origin question could be improved by placing it before the race question without affecting the response to the race question. Second, there is an instruction preceding the Hispanic origin question indicating that respondents should answer both the Hispanic origin and the race questions. This instruction was added to give emphasis to the distinct concepts of the Hispanic origin and race questions and to emphasize the need for both pieces of information.
Furthermore, there has been a change in the processing of the Hispanic origin and race responses. In 1990, the Hispanic origin question and the race question had separate edits; therefore, although information may have been present on the questionnaire, it was not fully utilized due to the discrete nature of the edits. However, for Census 2000, there was a joint race and Hispanic origin edit which for example, made use of race responses in the Hispanic origin question to impute a race if none was given.