In a first, US census to count Sikhs as separate ethnic group

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 15, 2020, 08.37 PM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( AFP )

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US Census Deputy Director Ron Jarmin said, 'It's clear that a separate code is needed to ensure an accurate count of Sikhs in the United States,  recognising a unique identity.'

For the first time in the United States, the Sikh community will be counted as a "separate" ethnic group in the 2020 census, according to the US Census Bureau.

US Census Deputy Director Ron Jarmin said, "It's clear that a separate code is needed to ensure an accurate count of Sikhs in the United States, recognising a unique identity."

For over two decades now, the United Sikhs group have advocated for the Sikhs to be added as an ethnic group as they meet the criteria for representation in the US Census as a distinct ethnic group. Sikhs have a distinct unified appearance, culture, language, food and history.

The recognition as a separate ethnic group was needed to "take actions against issues like racism, bullying and hate crimes towards the community," the United Sikhs group said on its announcement.

Describing the latest move as "milestone", a report quoted President of Sikh Society of San Diego Baljeet Singh saying, community's efforts have come to fruition. 

Singh also said that this move will "pave a way forward" for other ethnicities living in the United States as well.

According to the United Sikhs, current estimates of Sikhs living in the United States is close to a million.

Earlier, the Census grouped Sikhs into a general Asian-Indian category in the "2010" US Census.  

After the 2015 survey, US Census Director Nicholas Jones from Race and Ethnic Research and Outreach Population Division stated, "We realized the need and importance to include Sikh ethnicity in surveys moving forward".

The 2020 US Census is active, and the forms are to be mailed out starting mid-March.