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Race/Ethnicity Guidelines

Categories developed in 1997 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that are used to describe groups to which individuals belong, identify with, or belong in the eyes of the community. The categories do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins. The designations are used to categorize U.S. citizens, resident aliens, and other eligible non-citizens.

First, individuals are asked to designate ethnicity as:

  • Hispanic or Latino or
  • Not Hispanic or Latino

Second, individuals are asked to indicate one or more races that apply among the following:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • White
Question & Answer:

Q: There doesn't seem to be a race category to select when respondents select their ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino. What's the correct race selection for someone who is Hispanic or Latino?

A: The federal government considers "Hispanic/Latino" to be an ethnicity, not a race. Consequently, "Hispanic/Latino" is not a selection in the race part of the question. The CDE supports self-identification, so the correct answer is whatever the person indicates in both parts of the question. Someone who is Hispanic or Latino could see themselves as belonging to any one or more than one race. We understand that some respondents might not identify themselves as belonging to any of the race groups if they identify their ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino. If a respondent does not see a race group that applies after selecting Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, and after the definitions or other help has been provided, the respondent might leave the race part blank. CALPADS will accommodate such information after the LEAs confirm that the race information was missing intentionally, that is, the respondent was unable to select a race from the required list.