Please Choose One…



US Census Results, 1790; Source: US Census Bureau
The “All other free persons” column provides a count of free African Americans

Mixed Race Studies.org, a blog/website for “scholarly perspectives on the mixed race experience,” has a listing of the racial categories that have been used on the US Census. The names of the racial categories for people of African descent have changed much over the years; refer to the italicized items in the list.

US Census Race Categories, 1790-2010 (US Census Race Categories as Listed on Survey Forms, 1790-2010)

1790-Free White Males; Free White Females; All Other Free Persons; Slaves
1800-Free White Males; Free White Females; All Other Free Persons, except Indians Not Taxed; Slaves
1810-Free White Males; Free White Females; All Other Free Persons; except Indians Not Taxed; Slaves
1820-Free White Males; Free White Females; Free Colored Persons, All other persons, except Indians Not Taxed; Slaves
1830-Free White Persons; Free Colored Persons; Slaves
1840-Free White Persons; Free Colored Persons; Slaves
1850-Black; Mulatto [a]
1860-Black; Mulatto; (Indian) [b],
1870-White; Black; Mulatto; Chinese; Indian
1880-White; Black; Mulatto; Chinese; Indian
1890-White; Black; Mulatto; Quadroon; Octoroon; Chinese; Japanese; Indian
1900-White; Black; Chinese; Japanese; Indian
1910-White; Black; Mulatto; Chinese; Japanese; Indian; Other
1920-White; Black; Mulatto; Indian; Chinese; Japanese; Filipino; Hindu; Korean; Other
1930-White; Negro; Mexican; Indian; Chinese; Japanese; Filipino; Hindu; Korean; (Other races, spell out in full)
1940-White; Negro; Indian; Chinese; Japanese; Filipino; Hindu; Korean; (Other races, spell out in full)
1950-White; Negro; Indian; Japanese; Chinese; Filipino; (Other race-spell out)
1960-White; Negro; American Indian; Japanese; Chinese; Filipino; Hawaiian; Part-Hawaiian; Aleut Eskimo, etc.
1970-White; Negro or Black; American Indian; Japanese; Chinese; Filipino; Hawaiian; Korean; Other (print race)
1980-White; Negro or Black; Japanese; Chinese; Filipino; Korean; Vietnamese; American Indian; Asian Indian; Hawaiian; Guamanian; Samoan; Eskimo; Aleut; Other (specify)
1990-White; Black or Negro; American Indian; Eskimo; Aleut; Chinese; Filipino; Hawaiian; Korean; Vietnamese; Japanese; Asian Indian; Samoan; Guamanian; Other API (Asian or Pacific Islander); Other race
2000-White; Black, African American, or Negro; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian Indian; Chinese; Filipino; Japanese; Korean; Vietnamese; Native Hawaiian; Guamanian or Chamorro; Samoan; Other Asian (Print Race); Other Pacific Islander (Print Race); Some other race (Print Race)
2010-White; Black, African American, or Negro; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian Indian; Chinese; Filipino; Japanese; Korean; Vietnamese; Native Hawaiian; Guamanian or Chamorro; Samoan; Other Asian (Print Race); Other Pacific Islander (Print Race); Some other race (Print Race) [c]
Note. Categories are presented in the order in which they appeared on schedules.

[a] ln 1850 and 1860, free persons were enumerated on schedules for “free inhabitants”; slaves were enumerated on schedules designated for “slave inhabitants.” On the free- inhabitants schedule, instructions to enumerators read, in part: “In all cases where the person is white leave the space blank in the column marked ‘Color.’ ”

[b] Although “Indian” was not listed on the Census schedule, the instructions read: “ ‘Indians’-lndians not taxed are not to be enumerated. The families of Indians who have renounced tribal rule, and who under State or Territorial laws exercise the rights of citizens, are to be enumerated. In all such cases write ‘Ind.’ opposite their names, in column 6, under heading ‘Color.’ ”

Sources:
• M. Nobles. History counts: a comparative analysis of racial/color categorization in US and Brazilian Censuses. Amercan Journal of Public Health. 2000;90:1738-45.
• University of Virginia. United States Historical Census Data Browser.

[c] 2010Census.gov

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