WASHINGTON – After more than a century, the Census Bureau is dropping its use of the word “Negro” to describe black Americans in surveys.
Instead of the term that came into use during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation, census forms will use the labels “black” or “African-American.”
The change will take effect next year when the Census Bureau distributes its annual American Community Survey to more than 3.5 million U.S. households, said Nicholas Jones, chief of the bureau’s racial statistics branch.
He pointed to months of public feedback and census research that concluded few black Americans still identify with being Negro and many view the term as “offensive and outdated.”
“This is a reflection of changing times, changing vocabularies and changing understandings of what race means in this country,” said Matthew Snipp, a sociology professor at Stanford University.