Changes floated in census questions could impact Bronx Hispanics, Afro-Latinos


It can be difficult for many of the U.S.’s multiracial and multicultural communities to find the correct box to check on federal forms that ask for one’s racial and ethnic identity.

For Afro-Latinas in the Bronx like Marise Herrera, the default for the past two census cycles has been to identify as Hispanic, even if she’s phenotypically Black and feels like she’s been “culturally raised” as a Black American. In order to be recognized as Garífuna in the 2020 census, members of the community wrote “Garífuna” or “Honduran” on the form under origin Hispanic, and then checked the box for Black or African American, members of the Garífuna told the Bronx Times.

Despite gradual changes to census forms and other federal data collection to include Hispanic or Latino categories — asking origin or descent for Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, and other Spanish identities began in 1970 — the 2020 census continued a three-decade trend of undercounting Black people, Latinos and Native Americans.