Skip to main content
  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2015

Social Statistics and Ethnic Diversity

Cross-National Perspectives in Classifications and Identity Politics

  • This open access book examines racial and ethnic diversity in country-specific contexts from around the world

  • Includes analysis on the indigenous groups of the Americas

  • Provides insights into the complexity of categorization and related political and policy challenges

Part of the book series: IMISCOE Research Series (IMIS)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-vi
  2. The Making of Racial and Ethnic Categories: Official Statistics Reconsidered

    • Patrick Simon, Victor Piché, Amélie A. Gagnon
    Pages 1-14Open Access
  3. Comparative Accounts of Ethnic Statistics

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 15-15
    2. ‘Inside Out’: The Politics of Enumerating the Nation by Ethnicity

      • Tahu Kukutai, Victor Thompson
      Pages 39-61Open Access
  4. Enumeration and Identity Politics

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 63-63
    2. The Ethnic Question: Census Politics in Great Britain

      • Debra Thompson
      Pages 111-139Open Access
  5. Measurement Issues and Competing Claims

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 141-141
    2. Counting Ethnicity in Malaysia: The Complexity of Measuring Diversity

      • Shyamala Nagaraj, Tey Nai-Peng, Ng Chiu-Wan, Lee Kiong-Hock, Jean Pala
      Pages 143-173Open Access
    3. The Growth of Ethnic Minorities in Uruguay: Ethnic Renewal or Measurement Problems?

      • Wanda Cabella, Rafael Porzecanski
      Pages 175-189Open Access
    4. Fuzzy Definitions and Demographic Explosion of Aboriginal Populations in Canada from 1986 to 2006

      • Éric Guimond, Norbert Robitaille, Sacha Senecal
      Pages 229-244Open Access

About this book

This open access book examines the question of collecting and disseminating data on ethnicity and race in order to describe characteristics of ethnic and racial groups, identify factors of social and economic integration and implement policies to redress discrimination. It offers a global perspective on the issue by looking at race and ethnicity in a wide variety of historical, country-specific contexts, including Asia, Latin America, Europe, Oceania and North America. In addition, the book also includes analysis on the indigenous populations of the Americas.

The book first offers comparative accounts of ethnic statistics. It compares and empirically tests two perspectives for understanding national ethnic enumeration practices in a global context based on national census questionnaires and population registration forms for over 200 countries between 1990 to 2006.

Next, the book explores enumeration and identity politics with chapters that cover the debate on ethnic and racial statistics in France, ethnic and linguistic categories in Québec, Brazilian ethnoracial classification and affirmative action policies and the Hispanic/Latino identity and the United States census.

The third, and final, part of the book examines measurement issues and competing claims. It explores such issues as the complexity of measuring diversity using Malaysia as an example, social inequalities and indigenous populations in Mexico and the demographic explosion of aboriginal populations in Canada from 1986 to 2006.

Overall, the book sheds light on four main questions: should ethnic groups be counted, how should they be counted, who is and who is not counted and what are the political and economic incentives for counting. It will be of interest to all students of race, ethnicity, identity, and immigration. In addition, researchers as well as policymakers will find useful discussions and insights for a better understanding of the complexity of categorization and related

political and policy challenges.


  • Censuses and large-scale social surveys
  • Enumeration and identity politics
  • Ethnic and racial classifications
  • Ethnic statistics
  • Indigenous populations of the Americas


“This 12-chapter volume addresses some very topical issues in the measurement of ethnicity. … With the political debates on ethnicity and immigration increasing in volume in the face of new waves of refugees in Europe, political campaigns in the USA, and rising awareness of ethnic identity, this book is very topical and is an interesting addition to any library.” (Margot Almond, Canadian Studies in Population, Vol. 44 (1-2), 2017) 

“Why do states collect (or not collect) ethnic and racial data, and what are the social and political implications of the ethnic and racial classifications which are used? At a time when debates about the salience of ethnic and racial assertions and identities are central to the workings of many multiethnic societies, this illuminating and ambitious volume breaks new ground through a global and comprehensive exploration of these questions.” (Miri Song, University of Kent)

“Should nations count by race and ethnicity? This impressive collection instructs us that massive population movements require many nations to govern their increasingly diverse racial and ethnic populations, confronting unprecedented social tensions and struggling to guarantee new forms of social justice.   Here we learn that there are cross-national commonalities, and lessons to learn about whether, why and how to classify and count.” (Kenneth Prewitt, Columbia University and author of "What is Your Race: The Census and Our Flawed Effort to Classify Americans")

“There is considerable variation across the world in the extent to which different nations gather official statistics that classify people by ethnicity and origins, and in the kinds of questions they ask and the categories they use.  This book combines an overview of patterns of classification across the world, along with case studies of specific countries.  It is a fascinating look at how the statistics on ethnicity are created, shaped and used in different national contexts.  It should be required reading for those who study race and ethnicity, as well as anyone who uses ethnic statistics.” (Mary C. Waters, Harvard University)

Editors and Affiliations

  • International Migration and Minorities Unit, Institut National d'Etudes Démograhiques, Melrose, Montreal, Canada

    Patrick Simon

  • Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, McGill University and Honorary University of Montreal, Melrose, Montreal, Canada

    Victor Piché

  • Institute for Statistics, UNESCO, Montreal, Canada

    Amélie A. Gagnon

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Social Statistics and Ethnic Diversity

  • Book Subtitle: Cross-National Perspectives in Classifications and Identity Politics

  • Editors: Patrick Simon, Victor Piché, Amélie A. Gagnon

  • Series Title: IMISCOE Research Series

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s) 2015

  • License: CC BY-NC

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-20094-1Published: 27 August 2015

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-36720-0Published: 22 October 2016

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-20095-8Published: 17 August 2015

  • Series ISSN: 2364-4087

  • Series E-ISSN: 2364-4095

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: VI, 244

  • Number of Illustrations: 12 b/w illustrations, 2 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Human Migration, Population Economics, Sociology, Political Science, Human Geography

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)