Ethnicity/race (White, South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean, Japanese, Other)

One question, “How would you describe yourself?” with answer options White, South Asian (e.g., East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, etc.), Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian (e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malaysian, Laotian, etc.), West Asian (e.g., Iranian, Afghan, etc.), Korean, Japanese and Other. The options are used in national surveys by Statistics Canada.

Description

One question, “How would you describe yourself?” with answer options White, South Asian (e.g., East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, etc.), Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian (e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malaysian, Laotian, etc.), West Asian (e.g., Iranian, Afghan, etc.), Korean, Japanese and Other. The options are used in national surveys by Statistics Canada and may not be appropriate for other countries.

Rationale

The answer options are derived from the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey (NHS) and are available in French and English. By using census questions as outcome measures, Canadian organizations can benchmark their own clientele against the population of interest in their region. Data from these surveys are made available by Statistics Canada in microdata files. The question wording, “How would you describe yourself?” is based on general advice from researchers in the field.

Limitations

The options in this question are used in Canada and may be less appropriate in other countries or for other uses. The options combine constructs of race, national origin and ethnicity (e.g., White vs European, Black vs African) based on user testing. Ethnicity and race is defined differently in different cultures and countries, and any attempt to capture these constructs will be problematic.  Choose the question that best meets the needs of your evaluation, and pilot test with stakeholders before distributing the instruments widely.

References

Statistics Canada. Visible Minority and Population Group Reference Guide, National Household Survey, 2011. Accessed July 10, 2017. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ref/guides/99-010-x/99-010-x2011009-eng.cfm 

Veksler, D. (n.d.). Five tips for asking about race and ethnicity in surveys and forms. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from https://marketing.fee.org/five-tips-for-asking-about-race-and-ethnicity-in-surveys-and-forms