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The Challenges and Opportunities of Surveying Ethnically Mixed and Multi-Racial Populations

The quest to improve research in racially and ethnically diverse communities is relatively new. Since 2008 when the US Census began a concentrated effort to improve the accuracy of racial and ethnic data collected by the census, the surveying of diverse communities has been evolving.

Increasing Diversity Demands More Nuanced Survey Approaches

The increasing diversity of the United States and its residents requires a more multi-dimensional approach when surveying ethnically mixed and multi-racial populations. A single simple question on race or ethnicity fails to capture the complexity of modern racial and ethnic identities. By providing multiple opportunities for respondents to offer their racial and ethnic identities, researchers can gather more complete information.

Better Surveys Lead to Better Conclusions

The integration of racial and ethnic questions can be challenging. These demographic questions are sensitive and made more so by the historical misuse of ethnic and racial data. 

At the same time, the importance of surveying ethnically mixed and multi-racial populations is ever-increasing:

  • Ethnically mixed and multi-racial populations are growing in the US. The US Census predicts that the population of people who identify as two or more races will be the largest growing racial demographic in the United States through the next several decades. Additionally, the US multi-racial population was the youngest of any race group according to the demographic data from the 2020 Census. Developing and implementing strategies to best survey diverse audiences will be relevant and informative for years to come.
  • Better data may lead to more nuanced conclusions. Understanding the difference between racial and ethnic populations provides more compelling insight into the needs and desires of your audience. With more precise data, you can better understand the needs, desires, experiences, and preferences of the communities you want to reach.

Although there are inherent challenges in collecting better racial and ethnic data, the successful integration of such efforts will improve survey data about diverse audiences.

For insights on surveying ethnically diverse and multi-racial populations, contact the team members at Ebony Marketing Systems. We are experts at conducting research that reaches people in a new way. For more information, call us at (718) 742-0006 or send us a message today.

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