In preparation for the 1980 U. S. Census, the U.S. Census Bureau revamped considerably the way it defined, collected, and reported the ancestry of the American population. A long form of the census schedule was developed for application to one in six households. Prior to 1980, Basques were masked under Spanish nationals and French nationals in the final census reports and Basque-Americans were not distinguished at all. This article considers how Basque ethnicity came to be parsed and reported in three fashions—“Basque, Spanish,” “Basque, French,” and “Basque, n.e.c.” (e.g. “not elsewhere classified”). So it was now possible for Americans to claim Basque ancestry regardless of their birthplace. For scholars of the Basque-American diaspora, the census went from being largely useless to a satisfying analytical tool. However, there have been additional changes in the reporting of ancestry in both the 2000 and 2010 censuses. While the tripartite distinctions are still employed during collection, the responses are currently aggregated into a single Basque category in the reporting process. Consequently, the U. S. census still provides an overview of the population that self-identifies as Basque, but with less precision than did the last two censuses of the 1900s.
Douglass, William A.
"Calculating Ethnicity Through the U.S. Census: The Basque Case,"
BOGA: Basque Studies Consortium Journal: Vol. 4
, Article 1.
Available at: http://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/boga/vol4/iss1/1