The Characteristics of the 2000 -  United States Census and Its Scope in Quantifying Hungarian Americans Cover Image
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The Characteristics of the 2000 - United States Census and Its Scope in Quantifying Hungarian Americans
The Characteristics of the 2000 - United States Census and Its Scope in Quantifying Hungarian Americans

Author(s): Levente Pakot
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: MTA Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont Kisebbsegkutató Intézet
Keywords: Hungarians in USA; Hungarian Americans

Summary/Abstract: One of the most signifi cant sources of examination of the ethnic groups of the United States is the U.S. Census taken in every decade. The census is essentially the only offi cial document that attempts to exhaustively quantify and classify the composition of the country’s population. The census data is processed in varying degrees regardless of whether they seek to quantify the number of Hungarians or inform on the demographic characteristics or to present a to this day unrivaled sociological analysis, all data has to be equally validated against the unique characteristics of the data source and the attendant analytical problems. The recurrent theme and source of inquiry for the authors is to what degree it is possible to describe the Hungarian ethnic presence in the U.S. population based on the census data. A particular challenge is the identifi cation and evaluation of the different foreign ethnic groups or ethnic origin of populations that in English we call „ancestry”. There is a tendency within the wider population polled to accept the ethnic origin or ancestry category incorporated in the survey responses, including those of Hungarian origin, as truly representative of actual social communities or groups. Based on this premise, it is assumed that the subjective relationship of the questionnaire respondent, that is, the individual who has Hungarian ancestors, is to him or her and to others, from the community or social standpoint, Hungarian. This premise was challenged, fi rst and foremost by Zoltán Fejõs in several studies pointing out that the use of ancestry related data has to be used with great caution, particularly if we want to quantify from that the data the number of ethnic Hungarians within the population. An important fi nding by Fejõs is that “based on the «hard» statistical data we could only determine a picture of the Hungarians by examining the nature and characteristics of the data sources regarding them.” According to him, „the statistical categories of the analyses, the questions and the wording of the questionnaire, as well as unexamined phenomena of past censuses, are determinants of the overall structure of the national ethnic canvas.”

  • Issue Year: XI/2008
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 189-230
  • Page Count: 42
  • Language: English