U.S. Census 2000 Classification

U.S. Census Bureau Replies to Email Petitions

U.S. Census 2000Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding the classification of people of Assyrian and Chaldean descent.   There are two issues to be addressed.  The first concerns which of the possible write-in responses will be included in the category about which you have expressed interest.  The answer is straightforward -- we have not made changes to the list of ancestry groups that will be coded under this category.  They remain the same as in 1990.

The second issue concerns how that category will be labeled.  The decision to change the label for the 1990 category of "Assyrian" to "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" for Census 2000 was based on extensive research and consultations conducted by the Census Bureau in the past several months.  We undertook these activities in response to requests from both Assyrian and Chaldean representatives of the community.

Our research indicated that "Chaldean" can be regarded as an ethnic designation and not solely a religious group.  In addition, the Census Bureau conducted a number of meetings at the Census Bureau, as well as in Chicago and Detroit, with members of the Assyrian and Chaldean community to obtain the views of the community.  Further, the Census Bureau conducted a number of conference calls with community leaders representing organizations such as the Chaldean Diocese of America, the Assyrian Democratic Organization, and the Assyrian Academic Society of Chicago to obtain the views and opinions of community leaders.

The outcome was the Census Bureau's acceptance of a proposal, from community leaders and experts whom we consulted, that the label "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" more accurately represents the ethnic make up of the Assyrian and Chaldean communities in the U.S. than retaining the label "Assyrian" which was used in 1990.

We appreciate your recent e-mail message and interest in Census 2000.

If you have additional questions or concerns about this issue, please don't hesitate to contact me by phone at 301/457-2403 or e-mail at MDELAPUE@CENSUS.GOV.


Manuel de la Puente, Ph.D.
Chief, Ethnic and Hispanic Statistics Branch

U.S. Census 2000 Classification
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