The White population count could decrease under a new Biden proposal

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from The Washington Post,

The Biden proposal would give Latinos and people of Middle Eastern and North African descendent more options for identifying themselves, potentially lowering the White population count

On every census survey — or medical form or job application — Tala Faraj says she has no choice but to identify as something she’s not: White.

Faraj, 23, is Iraqi American, but Middle Eastern is usually not an option when she’s asked for her race and ethnicity.

“It is this feeling like I don’t really belong. Like there’s no space for me here and I just have to conform to whatever this country is telling me that I am,” said Faraj, who lives in Chicago. “It makes me feel sad.”

For years, the Census Bureau has counted people of Middle Eastern and North African descent (also known as MENA) as White, obscuring their numbers and rendering them largely invisible, advocates say.

Last week, the Biden administration submitted a preliminary proposal to better account for the country’s MENA and Latino populations in the census. The Middle Eastern and North African population would be recognized as a distinct ethnic identity for the first time. And Latinos would be able to identify as such without having to also identify as a separate race, such as Black or White.

The proposal could change how race and ethnicity are measured across the country, from statewide and local records on police violence to health disparity data. This type of demographic data also informs decisions on redistricting and the distribution of government assistance.

According to the 2020 Census, the United States is 59 percent White, nearly 19 percent Hispanic, 13 percent Black and 6 percent Asian.

The proposed changes for the 2030 census could further reduce the White population count and reflect the country’s increasingly diverse makeup.

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