Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Why Care about the 2010 Census?

Driving home last night, I caught part of an episode of On Point with Tom Ashbrook. The topic was the 2010 U.S. Census. I’ve been interested in the forthcoming census (forms will be mailed next week): its dessimination, its implications, and, of course, the breakdown of our nation by race and ethnicity.

Ashbrook nailed the question I want to know most: When will the U.S. be a majority minority country? At what point in the next few years will the scale tip?

Common knowledge is that people of color will soon outnumber whites (to the absolute fear of extremists). Boston itself is a city in which latinos, African Americans, Vietnamese, Haitians, and any number of ethnic minorities outnumber the city’s previous generations of Irish and Italian immigrants.

The myriad of ways in which this balance of color–and in conjunction, power–affects Boston is numerous: in city allocations to neighborhoods, in representation on the city council, in the gentrification of neighborhoods like Dorchester, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain. It’s heartening that in the last couple years we’ve had more representation on the city council from people of color like Felix G. Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley. Former councillor Sam Yoon made a historic run against Mayor Menino in the last election; his identity as an Asian American ultimately gave mayoral challenger Michael Flaherty a significant boost.

Another interesting question raised in yesterday’s episode of On Point: Will there be an increase in minority births in this census? Many experts predict this fact. If so, how will this concrete predictor of a growing minority population affect U.S. policy-setting and government agenda in the coming years?

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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