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Hispanic origin

Codes and Frequencies

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HISPAN identifies and classifies persons of Hispanic/Spanish/Latino origin. Origin is ancestry, lineage, heritage, national group, or country of birth.

Prior to 2003, information was collected by asking, "What is the origin or descent of each person in this household?" and asking the respondent to select the appropriate category from a limited number of choices on a flashcard (including "another group not listed.") The choices included five to eight choices that would be classified as Hispanic, "Negro" and "Black," and a small number of European ancestry groups such as "German."

The primary intention of the question was to identify Hispanic respondents, rather than origin or descent for the general population. Beginning in 1976, the original CPS data preserved detail for only the Hispanic responses, with all others answers lumped together as "another group not listed" (relabeled "Not Hispanic" in IPUMS-CPS).

In 2003 and later years, respondents were asked, "Are you Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino?" rather than the broad query about origin or descent. Detailed information about Hispanic ethnicity was collected only from those who answered "yes" to this initial question.


As noted above, the survey question used to identify persons of Hispanic origin was much more direct beginning in 2003 than in prior years.

The categories "Cuban," "Puerto Rican," "Central or South American," "Other Spanish," and some form of the terms "Mexican" and "Chicano" are available for every year. Alternative terms for "Mexican," such as "Mexican-American" and "Mexicano," are also provided beginning in 1977. These alternative terms could be grouped together with "Chicano" for approximate comparability with the broad "Mexicano-Chicano" category available for ASEC samples from 1971-1975.

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

The census and the ACS asked, "Is this person of Hispanic origin?" rather than the open-ended question about "origin or descent" used by the CPS prior to 2003. Beginning in 2003, the CPS identified persons of Hispanic origin using the same question wording as in the 2000 census and the ACS. For 1970 and 1980, IPUMS-USA has approximately the same number of categories for HISPAN as the CPS has. The 1990 and 2000 censuses and the ACS provide information about a larger number of countries of origin. To maximize comparability between IPUMS-CPS and IPUMS-USA, the original CPS data were recoded using the IPUMS-USA codes for HISPAN.


  • All persons.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1971 – 1975 - - X - - - - - - - - - -
1976 – 2016 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2017 X X X X X X X X X X X - -