Poorly designed US Census form blamed for bad count of Hispanic communities in NYC

The NY Daily News ran an article about miscounting in the 2000 US Census of New York City because of a poorly redesigned form. The city Planning Department and Hispanic leaders think that a change in the Census Bureau questionnaire caused more than 200,000 of Dominicans, Colombians and Ecuadorans to be miscounted as "Other Hispanic" during the 2000 census. Census questionnaires in 2000 and 1990 contained check boxes for Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans. Other Latinos were asked to write a group name in another box. But the 1990 form included examples for the write-in groups including Argentinian, Colombian and Dominican whereas the 2000 questionnaire made no suggestions. "We're leaning toward an interpretation that the lack of examples in the question may have prompted people to answer with a generic response," said Joseph Salvo, director of the city Planning Department's population division. "People were confused with the form," said Moises Perez, director of Alianza Dominicana, an advocacy group that worked to increase the response rate in Washington Heights. "The Census Bureau did very little to ensure that this process was clear to people."