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Nearly 10 million Americans changed race, census says

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 8:03 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Nearly 10 million Americans decided they would be a different race or ethnicity in the early 2000s, with the largest movement coming from Hispanics deciding which racial category they should be in, a census report showed on Wednesday.

People switched between races, moved from multiple races to a single race or back, or decided to add or drop Hispanic ethnicity from their identifiers on census forms.

Researchers said the data used — race, ethnicity, sex, age, location and how the information was gathered — is not particularly helpful for figuring out why people decided to make those changes. They noted that there has been a tendency toward multiple-race responses, and new census form designs may have caused changes in how people respond to questions about Hispanic ethnicity.

Age may have something to do with the changes, the researchers suggested.

“Compared to adults, children and adolescents may be more likely to change their race/Hispanic responses for two reasons: childhood and adolescence are times of personal identity development, and young people's information was probably reported by their parents in 2000 but may be self-reported in 2010,” researchers said.

The report showed that 1 in 16 people — or approximately 9.8 million of 162 million — who responded to both the 2000 and 2010 censuses gave different answers when it came to race and ethnicity.

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