1960 Census: Hispanic Status

Someone on Mastodon tooted a graphic from 2020 Pew Research article showing the changing nature of race/ethnicity in the US Census between 1790 and 2020. It’s a great graphic!!!

And it jogged my memory: the question on hispanic/latino ethnicity was FIRST asked in the 1970 Census. (Mexican was asked in the 1930 Census).

So, my research on workers by means of transportation to work by various worker attributes has been made possible using IPUMS.

I was able to create a crosstable of US workers by race/ethnicity by means of transportation, using my composed variable (RACE7) using RACE and HISPAN.

But WHERE did HISPAN come from? It’s not on the 1960 Census short form or long form, as far as I can tell. Was HISPAN a creation imputed from other variables? (e.g., Spanish Surname, country of birth, language spoken at home)

I’m a little puzzled!

And the Pew Center graphics are awesome!


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You are correct that HISPAN was imputed by IPUMS in earlier years using other variables. Exactly how this was done varies by year. The full details can be found on the comparability page for HISPAN and the documentation for HISPRULE.

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Thanks, Matthew, for the clarification. And thanks for providing the links to the documentation, especially the HISPRULE - - rules for classifying a respondent as hispanic/latinx.

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