Letter to Census Bureau re: Multiracial Census Category

August 31, 1999
Department of Justice
Letter to Census Bureau
Regarding Multiracial Census Tabulation

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Office of the Assistant Attorney General
Washington, DC 20510

August 31, 1999

Dr. Ken Prewitt
Director
Department of Commerce
Bureau of the Census
Washington, DC 20233

Re: Multi-racial data tabulation

Dear Dr. Prewitt:

As you know, for some time the Civil Rights Division has been studying the question of how to tabulate multi-racial respondents on the 2000 census for civil rights enforcement purposes. We have been coordinating our efforts with the civil rights offices of numerous federal agencies, and we have informally consulted with state and local officials as well as non-governmental parties who have an interest in this question.

While there are no simple solutions, one clear conclusion has emerged. We want to have as much detailed information as you can provide. This will give us the flexibility we need in order to be as accurate as possible in light of the variety of local circumstances we encounter and our myriad civil rights enforcement data requirements. In short, we would like you to make census data available at the block level that shows all 63 categories of possible multi-racial combinations. Having the data in this form is crucial to our ability to enforce effectively the laws that are central to our mission.

I greatly appreciate the assistance you and your staff have given us in the past. Please do not hesistate to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant
Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

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