Caribbean Immigrants in U.S. Can Self-Identify on 2020 Census

Author  Edited from News Americas

For the first time in the history of the United States Census, Caribbean immigrants and those with Caribbean ancestry will be able to self-identify on the 2020 census forms.

Census 20201Time to stand up and be counted.This means that persons from the Caribbean region will now be able to write in their nationality or ancestry while also choosing the race group they identify with. For example, under the category “Black or African American” on census forms, black Caribbean nationals will now be able to choose the race group while writing in for example Guyanese, Jamaican or Haitian.

The option comes 12 years after Carib ID, the group founded by Caribbean immigrant entrepreneur and advocate Felicia J. Persaud, begun lobbying for better self-identification on U.S. census forms for people from the region and those with roots there.


Persaud called it a “progressive” resolution to the problem of lack of self-identification for Caribbean immigrants on past forms and now hopes that those from the region who live in the U.S. and those with Caribbean roots will take full advantage of counting themselves present in this census.

“Data on Caribbean nationals in the U.S. is currently sparse based largely on the fact that this bloc has had no previous opportunity to self-identify in the past but have been lumped in with the African American, Asian American or Other communities,” she said.

“Hopefully this goes a long way in making sure we count in 2020 so we can receive the respect we deserve as a huge economic and political bloc in this country and our communities and businesses that have been dismissed because of a lack of economic data, can begin to thrive. Let’s stand up and be counted.”


The forms re-design was based on a 2015 NCT research on race/ethnicity aimed at improving the question design and data quality for race/ethnicity, while addressing community concerns over the past several years, including the call for more detailed, disaggregated data for the diverse American experiences, census officials have said.

The U.S. Census kicked off its 2020 national promotional campaign in January ahead of Census Day, April 1, 2020.

The 2020 Census counts the population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories – Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire – online, by phone or by mail by mid-March.