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Conference to Examine Racial Categories and the 2010 Census
DURHAM, N.C. - This month residents of the United States and Puerto Rico will receive in the mail the short-form 2010 census, a 10-question survey that asks recipients to, among other things, identify his or her race.
A one-day conference at Duke University will explore the reasons behind such questions, namely how are racial categories developed and who determines them?
"Counting Race: Racial Categories and the 2010 Census" will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 19, in the Von Canon Room at Duke's Bryan Center. The event is free and open to the public, though registration is required.
Two separate panels will address why it is important for the U.S. to have demographic information, why the racial categories have changed, and the problems associated with census-taking.
Panelists include former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, now dean of the Howard University School of Law. He will discuss the importance of ensuring an accurate count of urban populations and the effects of undercounts on policy and city budgets.
The keynote speaker is Margo Anderson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a professor of history and urban studies who has researched the history of the U.S. census.
One of the census questions concerns whether a person is of Latino, Hispanic or Spanish descent. Professor John Garcia of the University of Arizona and Angelo Falcon, founder of the National Institute of Latino policy, will discuss Latino participation.
Other panelists will explore issues related to redistricting and undercounting minorities.
"An accurate census count is very important to cities and states because the amount of money they receive from the federal government for various social welfare and infrastructure programs is tied to the size of their population," said Kerry Haynie, co-director of Duke's Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences, one of the conference sponsors.
"Evidence suggest that less well-off racial and ethnic minorities who live in our cities are the group most likely to be undercounted, which means that cities receive fewer federal resources to provide them with vital assistance and support," Haynie said.
The event is co-sponsored by Duke's sociology department. For a complete schedule and list of presenters and to register, visit regss.ssri.duke.edu/counting_race.php.
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