Ethnicity survey question

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What are ethnicity survey questions?

Ethnicity survey questions are a questionnaire which asks the respondents to specify their ethnicity based on their country, ancestry, culture, language, history, society, etc. You need to understand the ethnicity of your audience to know how their responses differ based on their background and culture. The researcher can cross-tabulate the responses to observe the pattern in responses and how they replicate a particular ethnicity. 

Usually, ethnicity survey questions are asked under demographic questions which collect the respondent’s personal information like name, contact, age, income, etc. Ethnicity information is gathered along with personal information to better understand how it will affect the way people respond to questions.

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Difference between race, ethnicity and nationality

Ethnicity and race are looked at as sensitive topics along with demographics when it comes to asking respondents about it in a survey. Although, when it comes to developing products/services for social good, you need to know where and how your audience belongs across the globe. Ethnicity and race questions can turn sensitive and offending at any point when they are grouped together incorrectly. Hence, it is important to know the difference between them.  

Race  

Race is defined based on a person’s genetic construction, biological features, heritage it is grown up in. It doesn’t matter if the person has inherited the behavior or traits defined by his race. Your race is defined by your hair color, eyes, skin, or anything that cannot be changed and is purely hereditary. 

Ethnicity  

Well, when it comes to ethnicity, it is a bit more complex than race. If we talk about a Caucasian man, he can be perceived as a white man which is not his ethnicity. He could be a Caucasian man living in New York, Whales, or any other countries.  

Ethnicity defines more of a person’s culture, heritage, traditions he celebrates. Unlike race, ethnicity allows you to accept or reject certain practices and adopt others at your will. 

Nationality  

Nationality is simply a legal identification of a person to where he belongs in an international law. People with the same ethnicity can also belong to different nationalities for that matter. Nationality also works ways to bring diverse people together.

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Approaches to ask ethnicity questions in a survey

Approach 1: 

Do you belong to Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin? 

  • Yes  
  • No 

How would you best describe yourself? 

  • American Indian or Alaska Native 
  • Asian 
  • Black or African American 
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 
  • White 

Approach 2: 

Are you of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? 

  • No, not of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin 
  • Yes, Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano 
  • Yes, Puerto Rican 
  • Yes, Cuban 
  • Yes, other Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin (Please specify) 

How would you best describe yourself? 

  • White 
  • Black, African American 
  • American Indian or Alaska native (Please specify tribe) 
  • Asian Indian 
  • Japanese 
  • Native Hawaiian 
  • Chinese 
  • Korean 
  • Guamanian or Chamorro 
  • Filipino 
  • Vietnamese 
  • Samoan 
  • Other Asian (Please specify) 
  • Other Pacific Islander (Please specify) 
  • Other race (Please specify) 

Approach 3: 

Which origin do you closely identify yourself in – Hispanic, Latino or Spanish? 

  • Yes 
  • No 
  • Other (Please specify) 
  • Prefer not to say 

How would you best describe yourself? 

  • American Indian or Alaska Native 
  • Asian 
  • Black or African American 
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 
  • White 
  • Other (Please specify) 
  • Prefer not to say

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Hindol Basu 
GM, Voxco Intelligence

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