See Every Term the US Census Has Used to Describe Black Americans

Especially notable is that before 1960, Americans didn’t even have the option of picking their own race; it was the census taker’s job to do it for them. Which means that in 1890, for example, census takers were tasked with figuring out whether multiracial families counted as “mulatto,” “quadroon,” or “octoroon.”

It’s another illustration of how our understanding of what race is, and who belongs to which race, keeps shifting over time — even though people of every era are convinced that the racial divisions of their era are just scientific fact.

In 1940, You Could Rent a Manhattan Apartment For $30

CUNY’s Center for Urban Research launched a project entitled Welcome to 1940s New York today–a look socioeconomic climate of the city in the 1940s, or more simply, a look at how relatively cheap renting was way back when. […]

Take a look at what CUNY’s Urban Research team unearthed about Manhattan’s West Village which was pitched as “not a neighborhood for artists and writers” (mind you, rents there are now $3,000 and up).

Read more at The Atlantic Wire. [Image: CUNY Center for Urban Research]


Trans people count. Watch Laverne Cox’s full interview on The Daily Show here.

Mexico Declares International Decade for People of African Descent
External image
Photo: José Carlo González
La Jornada

: César Arellano García

Translated by Jillian Droste 

The International Decade for People of African Descent, which began January 1st, is an opportunity to bring about social and cultural change through respect for and recognition of the populations in this sector of the Mexican population. This means recognizing their historical, cultural, and hereditary contributions to the country, with the goal of combating discrimination against them, stated the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (Conapred).

They pointed out that there are more than 400 Afro-Mexican communities in seven states—principally in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz, followed by Coahuila, Michoacán, Chiapas (a region of Soconusco) and Tabasco [except for Coahuila which borders Texas, and Veracruz, which runs south to north along the Gulf Coast, these are southern states].

The organization reaffirmed its commitment to promoting recognition of those peoples belonging to the African diaspora and to the opportunity to make Afro-Mexican history known.

“One of these efforts is the inclusion of a question about self-description as an Afro-Mexican for the intercensal survey that the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) will use in 2015. This question will deal with whether or not those surveyed consider themselves—with respect to their culture, history, and traditions—to be Afro-Mexican/Descendants of Africa. The names used include Negro [

Black], Mazcogo*  Mulato [mixed African-Indigenous], Prieto [dark-skinned], Jarocho [from Veracruz], Costeño [from the coast], etc.

This,” said Conapred, “is one of the efforts Mexico will make to fulfill the goal of the Decade. Upon recognizing people of African descent as a specific group, it will enable them to be brought to light, and to rely upon the statistics that will help them to exercise their human rights.” 

Keep reading


Mapping the Census: A Dot for Every Person

Brandon Martin-Anderson, a graduate student at MIT's Changing Places lab, was tired of seeing maps of U.S. population density cluttered by roads, bridges, county borders and other impediments.

Fortunately for us, he has the technological expertise to transform block data from the 2010 Census into points on a map. One point per person, and nothing else. 

Read more. [Images: Brandon Martin-Anderson]

Laverne Cox demands US asks questions about LGBT communities on census
‘It’s a matter of life and death … LGBT people exist, we are a vital part of the fabric of this country and we just want to be counted.’

Laverne Cox has joined members of Congress in calling upon the US government to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on the US Census. The actress joined several Democratic politicians yesterday at Capitol Hill in Washington DC at a press conference on the LGBT Data Inclusion Act, which was proposed last month by Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva.

The act – which faces a great challenge in being passed through the current, Republican-controlled Congress – would make federal questionnaires include voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity alongside those about race, age and income.

‘If you’re not on paper, you’re invisible when it comes to the federal government,’ said California Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra, ‘and it’s time that we allowed all Americans to come out of the shadows, to live a life the way so many of us take for granted.’


After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States.

Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July, according to Census Bureau data made public on Thursday, while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority for the first time in the country’s history.

Such a turn has been long expected, but no one was certain when the moment would arrive — signaling a milestone for a nation whose government was founded by white Europeans and has wrestled mightily with issues of race, from the days of slavery, through a civil war, bitter civil rights battles and, most recently, highly charged debates over efforts to restrict immigration.

While over all, whites will remain a majority for some time, the fact that a younger generation is being born in which minorities are the majority has broad implications for the country’s economy, its political life and its identity. “This is an important tipping point,” said William H. Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution, describing the shift as a “transformation from a mostly white baby boomer culture to the more globalized multiethnic country that we are becoming.”

Signs that the country is evolving this way start with the Oval Office, and have swept hundreds of counties in recent years, with 348 in which whites are no longer in the majority. That number doubles when it comes to the toddler population, Mr. Frey said. Whites are no longer the majority in four states and the District of Columbia, and have slipped below half in many major metro areas, including New York, Las Vegas and Memphis.


The New York Times, “Whites Account for Under Half of Births in the U.S.”

Somewhere the Republican Party is blaming Obama for this.