If you're looking for information on the 2010 Census, please check out our 2010 Census Multiracial Tips page!
Census Profiles Young Multiracials
by Genaro C. Armas (The Associated Press)
Date: July 3, 2001
WASHINGTON (June 20) - Sixteen-year-old Ryan Graham's mother is white. His
father is black and according to census data, a significant share of the
America's multiracial population is young like him.
The number of people who identified themselves with two or more races was
relatively small when compared to other race categories. Yet 2000 census data
shows this group tends to be more youthful, suggesting that they could play a
prominent role in shaping the nation's demographics in the coming decades.
For instance, in at least 10 states, the percentage of multiracial residents
who are of school age - between 5 and 17 - is at least 25 percent.
That is higher than for Americans as a whole, regardless of racial
background. Nationally, 19 percent are school age.
"The reason we are in existence is so that we can put ourselves out of
existence," Katherine Kiley, said of the group she helped start, the New
England Alliance of Multiracial Families.
Kiley, of Natick, Mass. is white, and she adopted an 11-year daughter who is
black and white and 10-year-old twin boys who are black. "We are hoping the
growing numbers means people won't rely on groups like ours anymore," Kiley
Society grew more accepting of interracial relationships and families during
the 1990s, said Dowell Myers, professor of urban demography at the University
of Southern California. The 2000 census was the first to give people the
option of checking off more than one race.
As multiracial youths grow older and start their own families, expect the
racial portrait of America to become even more complex in future censuses,
The figures are the first detailed age breakdowns by race and ethnicity. They
are part of the latest state-by-state release of detailed data covering
topics asked on all census forms.
Eight states and the District of Columbia received their numbers Wednesday.
Ten states now have the data, with all 50 expected to get them by August.
Until now, the Census Bureau only released national and state figures for
those 18 and older, and under 18.
Nationally, just over 2 percent, or 6.8 million of the country's 281.4
million people, identified with more than one race. Of the 6.8 million, 42
percent, or about 2.9 million, were under 18.
More specific national breakdowns by age and race - such as how many kids
across the country are multiracial and school-age - will not be available
But a look at state data released so far offers some clues:
-Of Nebraska's 1.7 million residents, about 19 percent were between age 5 and
17 in 2000. But of the 24,000 in Nebraska who chose two or more races, 34
percent were school age.
-Illinois had one of the largest multiracial populations in the country at
just over 235,000, with 15 percent under age 5. By comparison, about 12
percent of the state's Hispanics were that young, and 6 percent of
"Hispanic" is considered an ethnicity, not a race; therefore, people of
Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race.
The 1990 census allowed Americans to choose only one of five race categories.
The 2000 count was the first to let people choose more than one category,
increasing the number of race classifications to 63.
What multiracial Americans today take away from the historic new reporting of
their population will affect the trends that emerge in the 2010 census. For
instance, how will children identified by their parents today as multiracial
classify themselves in the next head count?
Multiracial kids encounter "a lot of pain and isolation" in schools and
social settings, but the situation improved during the 1990s, Kiley said.
Others talk about problems with parents who are wary of their kids getting
into interracial romances, said Graham, a high school senior from
Tallahassee, Fla., who runs "Teen Project RACE," a teen support group for
Graham's family actually did not answer the race question on the census form.
They lobbied for a box that allowed people to check off "multiracial" as a
response, saying it would offer the most accurate picture of that population,
rather than having people check off specific race combinations.