Sikh Americans 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 U.S. Census Bureau leadership asking for Sikhs to be recognized as a separate ethnic group.
This will be the first time the minority group will be counted and coded in the decennial U.S. Census that is conducted every 10 years. There are roughly 1 million Sikhs currently living in the U.S.
In a press release issued by the United Sikhs, Baljeet Singh, president of Sikh Society of San Diego hailed the move as a milestone for America's Sikh community. “The Sikh community's efforts have come to fruition,” he said. “This has paved the way forward nationally not only for the Sikh community but also for other ethnicities in the United States.”
According to Jasmit Singh, advocacy director at United Sikhs, being involved in this civic engagement will help ensure in having an accurate count of Sikhs in the United States. “This data tracks and combats hate crimes against the community,” he said. “It also ensures equal and accurate representation that provides access to members of Congress and other essential government services.”
In order to be properly counted in the 2020 U.S. Census, United Sikhs is educating the national Sikh community to write in "Sikh" under the ethnic portion, adding that identification as a Sikh American, a Sikh Indian or a Sikh Pakistani will be counted distinctively.
To ensure maximum participation in the 2020 Census, groups like the United Sikhs and the Sikh Coalition will work with community partners and the Census 2020 leaders again for translation and outreach services to the Sikh American community coast-to-coast.
"With the 2020 census approaching, many historically undercoded communities will be at-risk for being under-counted and under-served," said Ruben Singh, Unites Sikhs Census Manager. "We look forward to collaborating with our census partners and other Sikh organizations and institutions to address the unanticipated challenges of the 2020 Census."
“The Sikh Coalition is partnering with the Census Bureau because Sikhs have traditionally been a ‘hard to count’ population in the United States,” said Satjeet Kaur, Sikh Coalition executive director. “Our community matters, and we want to make sure that Sikh families are appropriately counted and accurately resourced wherever they are across our country.”