Census Bureau: Portuguese not Hispanic

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone

In response to my recent blogpost on reports that the Census Bureau was going to classify people of Portuguese origin as Hispanic, I received the following email from Michael C. Cook of the Census Bureau:


“We have received calls about this topic over the past week or so and this rumor is NOT true. See a recent article that we had to correct below:


“Again, there are no plans to count Portuguese Americans as Hispanic in 2020. The Census Bureau follows the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) definition of Hispanic origin: A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.


“For more information on the OMB standards for the classification of federal data on Race and Ethnicity, please visit:”


The OMB memo to which Mr. Cook links notes that “respondent self-identification should be facilitated to the greatest extent possible, recognizing that in some data colletion systems observer identification is more practical.” In practice what this seems to amount to is that you (and your children and perhaps other household members) are Hispanic if you say so.

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Michael Barone

Senior Political Analyst
The Washington Examiner