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In 2000 the Census allowed people to select multiple races to identify themselves. In other words, the race question said to "mark one or more races" instead of just one. 2.4% of Americans opted to check off multiple races. It's difficult to make sense of the results. On the one hand, it means that there are now 63 different race categories -- or 126 if you take into account the Hispanic question. Take a look at all the categories in the list associated with this table. On the other hand, roughly one-fifth of the people who selected multiple races were Hispanics who chose both "White" and "Other." These responses are difficult to interpret, because many Hispanics select "Other" and then write in "Hispanic," "Latino," or a national origin. This reflects both a different conception of "race" among Hispanics and a confusing questionnaire. If, say, Anglos had a similar conception, many might choose "White" and "Other," writing in "German" or "British." It is hard to avoid comparing apples and oranges when looking at multiple race data.

The above map of where these 2.4% of Americans who identify with multiple races live may cast some light on the matter. You'll see that these people cluster primarily in a handful of areas -- notably, Hawaii, California, Alaska, and Oklahoma. More interesting is that the multiple race combinations in each of these areas are quite distinct. In Hawaii, the most common combination is Asian and Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; in California, it is White and Some Other Race; and, in Alaska and Oklahoma, it is White and American Indian. This just goes to show that "Multiracial America" is not a simple product of urban melting pots, but a wide-ranging and far from uniform phenomenon.

Source: Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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