Caribbean Immigrants In The US Can Now Self-Identify On Census Forms



Caribbean Immigrants In The US Can Now Self-Identify On Census Forms

NEW YORK, NEWS AMERICAS – For the first time in the history of the U.S. Census, Caribbean immigrants will now be able to specify their nationality and Caribbean ancestry on the 2020 Census forms.

The option comes 12 years after Carib ID, the group founded by Caribbean immigrant entrepreneur and advocate Felicia J. Persaud, begun lobbying for better self-identification on US Census forms for people from the region and those with roots there. A congressional bill, a US Senate bill and over a decade of advocacy, the choice is here.

This means that persons from the Caribbean region will now be able to write in their nationality or ancestry while also choosing the race group they identify with.

For example, under the category “Black or African American” on Census forms, black Caribbean nationals will now be able to choose the race group while writing in, for example, Guyanese, Jamaican, Haitian, etc..

Persaud called the move a “progressive” resolution to the problem of lack of self-identification for Caribbean immigrants on past forms and now hopes that those from the region who live in the US and those with Caribbean roots will take full advantage of counting themselves present in this Census.

“Data on Caribbean nationals in the US is currently sparse based largely on the fact that this bloc has had no previous opportunity to self-identify in the past but have been lumped in with the African American, Asian American or Other communities,” said Persaud. “Hopefully this goes a long way in making sure we count in 2020 so we can receive the respect we deserve as a huge economic and political bloc in this country and our communities and businesses that have been dismissed because of a lack of economic data, can begin to thrive. Let’s stand up and be counted.”

The forms redesign was based on a 2015 NCT research on race/ethnicity aimed at improving the question design and data quality for race/ethnicity, while addressing community concerns over the past several years, including the call for more detailed, disaggregated data for the diverse American experiences, Census officials have said.


The US Census kicked off its 2020 national promotional campaign this week ahead of Census Day, April 1, 2020. The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories – Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire – online, by phone, or by mail by mid-March.


When you respond to the census, your answers are kept anonymous. They are used only to produce statistics. By law, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies so your immigration status is fully protected under Title 13 of the U.S. Code.


The Census is conducted every 10 years and is required by the U.S. Constitution. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for you and your community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.

The results collected once a decade, help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year.

The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

During the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask you for: your Social Security number, money or donations, anything on behalf of a political party or your bank or credit card account numbers.


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