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Examining Demographics by Race
-- and Use of the Some Other Race Category
The "Some Other Race" (SOR) category has been a widely used category for the development, analysis and presentation of racial data by the Census Bureau for many years. The Census Bureau annual post-Census 2010 population estimates are developed using a modified race methodology. In using the modified race methodology, the "Some Other Race" population is allocated to specific race categories. See notes below. Population data for most Census demographic programs, including the decennial census and American Community Survey (ACS), use the "Some Other Race" category. The ACS 2012 data released in the fall 2013, use the SOR category. In contrast, the Census population estimates and population projections programs do not use SOR category.
This section reviews differences in the methods. There is not a conclusion that one method or the other is preferred, but the intent is to draw attention to the differences and why they differ.
Comparing Race Data With and Without 'Some Other Race' Category
The following table shows selected population by race data from the 2000 and 2010 decennial censuses, ACS 2010 and ACS 2011 5 year estimates, and post-Census 2010 annual population estimates. These and related data can be displayed for any county using the CV XE APIGateway. As shown in this table, the Harris county White alone Census 2010 population (4/1/2010) is 2,318,256 whereas population estimate for 2010 (7/1/2010) is 2,928,427. The difference, more than 500,000, mainly reflects the impact of allocating the SOR data to this category. Similarly, the Hispanic Two or more races Census 2010 population is 82,494 whereas population estimate for 2010 is 18,686.
Harris County, TX (Houston area) Demographics
Modified Race Estimation
For purposes of the decennial census and Census surveys, a specified race response is a response of one or more of the five Office of Management and Budget (OMB) race categories: White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. A non-specified race response is a response of Some Other Race.
For Census 2010 and earlier race responses:
Single or multiple race responses that include only specified OMB races.
Single race responses of a non-specified race (Some Other Race alone).
Two or more race responses that include both the specified OMB race(s) and the nonspecified response, Some Other Race.
Post Census 2010 Population Estimates Modification (thus not using Some Other Race category)
No modification was made for race responses where only a specified OMB race was provided alone or in combination with one or more OMB races (e.g., White alone, White and Black or African American; White and Black or African American and American Indian and Alaska Native).
Non-specified race responses of Some Other Race alone were modified by blanking the non-specified race response and allocating a specified OMB race alone or in combination. Race was allocated from a donor within the household that matched on Hispanic origin. If a donor could not be found within the household, a race was allocated from a hot deck matrix where the donor and donee matched on the specific Hispanic origin (Not Hispanic or Latino; Mexican; Puerto Rican; Cuban; Central American and Dominican; South American; other Spanish).
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