Race Terms Used in 1960 for Birth Certificates

By Cheryl Starr
Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino are the two minimum categories of race as of the 2003 Census.

the newborn image by Sergey Galushko from Fotolia.com

Much has changed since the 1960s, as racial and ethnic classifications become more realistic on paper. Within the early 1960s, race information on birth certificates was open-ended, meaning that there were no races to choose from. Respondents entered whatever race category he felt the infant fit into. Things changed in the late 60s. In 1977 the Office of Management and Budget established four racial categories for the U.S. Census, changing birth certification categories, also.

White

White, or caucasian is one of the four racial classification options in 1977. Within the 1960s a baby would only be classified as white if he had both parents that were white. The term, caucanoid, was also used, yet infrequently.

Black

Black is the racial classification that was used in the 1960s for most races of color. Other terms for black that were also used were negroid or negro.

American Indian or Alaskan Native

American Indians and Alaskan Natives were linked within the same category. Terms stated for them also included indian, eskimo, aleut or native. Rarely in the 1960s were the categories capitalized. Sometimes the names of the infants weren't capitalized in any of the categories, as well.

Pacific Islander or Asian

Pacific Islander or Asians were within the same census category in 1977. Until that time, within the early 1960s, these racial groups were also stated as simply Oriental or Hawaiian on birth certificates.

Some Other Race

Other races that didn't seem to fit into the other categories fell into the "other" category. In the early 1960's, at times infants were sometimes listed as "other" in the race field if the respondent couldn't determine a race.

About the Author

As a former elementary school teacher, Cheryl Starr now writes full-time from Missouri. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including "Teachers of Vision," "Insight" and "Highlights." She is currently writing a novel and a devotional book. Starr studied elementary education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

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