Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




This research will focus on the race and ethnicity categories used to classify people in the United States in relation to school age students. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) first standardized federal race and ethnicity categories in 1977 in order to enforce compliance with civil rights laws. In 1997 revisions were made to these standards due to increasing criticism by the public, advocacy groups, and government agencies (Williams, 2006). The 1977 decision by the OMB designated the category of Hispanic, or Latino, as an ethnicity rather than a race which was once again upheld in the 1997 update. The U.S. Census Bureau complied with these changes with each decennial questionnaire released thereafter and by the 2010-2011 school year the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) required all schools to do the same. The OMB's admission that these categories are of no scientific or biological backing brings to question their ability to speak to the lived experience of people in the U.S. Additionally research shows that since the United States began counting its population, race categories were frequently altered with each census in order to exclude some members of society from opportunities based on their identity. Given this burdensome legacy the question arises-- does a variation in measurement policy, of the race definitions outlined by the Office of Management and Budgets, change the number of students identified under each race within the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Census Bureau? Using Census 2010 data of people identified younger than the age of 18 and U.S. Department of Education (DOE) data, this research will attempt to understand how designating people that racially identify as Latino into their own category has the ability to change the total count of those belonging to other races.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.