Understanding Changes to Race and Ethnicity Questions on Polco

  • 19 August 2021
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  • Community Manager
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There are a variety of opinions in the world of survey research about the best ways to ask respondents about race and ethnicity. It is important to Polco that individuals who identify as multiracial feel fully represented. We also wanted to ensure that Polco admins were able to see their results in a way that was both representative and easy to understand. 

For these reasons, we changed Polco’s demographic question about race to be multi-select instead of single-select and added an additional demographic question for ethnicity. 

We adjusted these categories to match the categories and wording used by the United States Census

Respondents can select more than one choice if they would like, and administrators will see these responses in the Results tab as “More than one race.” 

As with the Census, “an individual’s response to the race question is based upon self-identification… People who identify with more than one race may choose to provide multiple races in response to the race question. For example, if a respondent identifies as "Asian" and "White," they may respond to the question on race by checking the appropriate boxes that describe their racial identities and/or writing in these identities on the spaces provided.” 

We updated the wording as follows: 

What is your race? (Mark one or more races to indicate what race you consider yourself to be.) 

  • American Indian or Alaska Native

  • Asian

  • Black or African American

  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

  • White

  • A race not listed

We also added an ethnicity question to Polco’s demographic questions as follows: 

Are you of Hispanic, Latino/a/x, or Spanish origin? 

  • No, not of Hispanic, Latino/a/x, or Spanish origin

  • Yes, I consider myself to be of Hispanic, Latino/a/x, or Spanish origin

We ask this question separately from the preceding race question because people of Hispanic, Latino/a/x, or Spanish origin may be of any race(s). 

Polco aims to help you view your results with an equity lens. That way, you can ensure that everyone in your community feels heard and represented in your community engagement process. 

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