Washington: In a first, Sikhs in the US would be counted as a separate ethnic group in the upcoming 2020 census, the US Census Bureau has said. This comes after several Sikh organisations in the US held meetings with the Census Bureau. "It's clear that a separate code is needed to ensure an accurate count of Sikhs in the United States, recognising a unique identity," reports quoted US Census Deputy Director Ron Jarmin as saying.
"Working with United Sikhs, we understand how this change affects the national Sikh community, leading us to add this code for the 2020 Census," Shagufta Ahmed with the Census Bureau and Office of Management Budget said. As per an organisation in United Sikhs, at least 10,00,000 Sikhs live in the US. The community hailed the decision, calling it a "milestone".
Sikhs have been demanding separate coding for the last two decades so that action could be taken to address major issues such as bullying, intimidation and hate crimes against the community.
Baljeet Singh, president of the Sikh Society of San Diego, said the Sikh community's efforts had 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," Singh was quoted as saying.
"With the 2020 census approaching, many historically undercoded communities will be at risk for being under-counted and under-served," said Ruben Singh, United Sikhs Census Manager. "We look forward to collaborating with our census partners and other Sikh organisations and institutions to address the unanticipated challenges of the 2020 Census," he said.
Meanwhile, the Sikh Coalition has partnered with the Census Bureau for 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," she said.