indica News Bureau-
Sikhs in the US will be counted as a separate ethnic group for the first time in the 2020 census. The move comes after a delegation of the United Sikhs held several meetings with the US Census.
The Sikh community said that it is the first time when US will be counted them as separate ethnic group in 2020 census and it is a milestone for the community. President of the Sikh Society of San Diego Baljeet Singh said the Sikh community’s efforts have come to fruition.
“This has paved the way forward nationally not only for the Sikh community but also for other ethnicities in the United States,” he said.
Describing this as a milestone, the United Sikhs said that this will be the first time the minority group will be counted and coded in the decennial US Census.
According to a report of Times of India, a delegation of the United Sikhs has held several meetings with the US Census in the recent past with the last one being on January 6 in San Diego.
“It’s clear that a separate code is needed to ensure an accurate count of Sikhs in the United States, recognizing a unique identity,” said US Census Deputy Director Ron Jarmin.
“Working with United Sikhs, we understand how this change affects the national Sikh community, leading us to add this code for the 2020 Census,” said Shagufta Ahmed with the Census Bureau and Office of Management Budget.
A blog post published on the organization’s website quoted Jasmit Singh, the Advocacy Director of United Sikhs, as saying: “Being involved in this civic engagement will help ensure an accurate count of Sikhs in the United States. Census data will help in tracking and measuring hate crimes against the community. It will also ensure an equal and accurate representation of Sikhs. This is useful in providing access to members of Congress and other essential government services for the needs of the community”.
Sikhs meet the criteria for representation in the US Census as a distinct ethnic group and have a distinct unified appearance, culture, language, food and history.
The United Sikhs has advocated for the separate coding for more than two decades and filed commentary with the US Federal Register advocating for Sikhs to be added as an ethnic group, in large part, so that action can be taken to address major Sikh issues such as bullying, intimidation and hate crimes against the community.
According to the website United Sikhs, over a million Sikhs are estimated to be living in the US. It says one of the reasons for advocating the inclusion of Sikhs as a separate ethnic group is so “that action can be taken to address Sikh issues of significance such as bullying, intimidation and hate crimes against the community.”
“Census data is collected every 10 years, which determines Sikh representation in Congress, addresses certain commercial sector needs and determines how funds are spent towards the Sikh community on things like law enforcement, roads, schools, education, Punjabi language and hospitals,” it says.