During the month of March, every household in the United States will receive a form from the U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau. Each household will be asked to complete this form so that the Census Bureau may estimate the number of individuals residing in the United States. By law, this information will remain confidential, and it may not be used for any other purpose besides the census, including immigration purposes.
The respective Coptic dioceses of the United States encourage all members of the Church to complete this form and return it to the Census Bureau as soon as possible. You may download a PDF that explains the respective bishops’ position here.
The form asks questions relating to “race” (questions 6 and 9). The Diocese recommends that all of those who are of Coptic descent write the word “Coptic” under “Some other race.” (See below.)
Questions and Answers
Q: But isn’t it improper to include religion in the Census?
In answering this question, the word “Coptic” is meant to describe the ancient Egyptian race of the Copts, and it is not intended to be used in the religious sense of the word. If, for example, a Catholic or Muslim person identifies himself with the Coptic race, he may equally write “Coptic” in Questions 6 and 9.
Q: What if a person identifies him/herself with more than one race?
If anyone has more than one race (for example, a Coptic father and a Korean mother), they may indicate so by checking the box “Korean” and writing the word “Coptic” under “Some other race.”
Q: What is the benefit of writing “Coptic” in questions 6 and 9?
By indicating “Coptic” as a race, we hope that the Copts will be recognized as an important race within the American society and in future censuses.
Q: Can the information gathered affect my business, legal, or immigration status?
No, all of the information is gathered and stored confidentiality. Identifying data are not shared with any other agency, government or otherwise.