Asked to state what race they are (black; white; Asian; some other race) and told they could choose as many categories as they wished, just 1% of Americans questioned in a Pew Research survey chose to identify with more than one category. However, later in the same survey, when respondents were asked explicitly if they consider themselves to be of mixed race, fully one-in-six (16%) said they did, including 20% of blacks, 8% of whites and 37% of Hispanics. The fact that responses to racial identity questions vary widely depending on wording and context suggests that the old classification scheme may be losing some of its descriptive power in a country that is rapidly growing more racially and ethnically diverse. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.