The FQ Equity Index: 3 Takeaways from the U.S. Census

The FQ Equity Index: 3 Takeaways from the U.S. Census

By FQ Correspondent

The United States Census Bureau modified questions and data coding procedures in 2020 to “more accurately illustrate the richness and complexity of how people identify their race and ethnicity in the 21st century.”

The results showed that when given options to describe their identity in greater detail, individuals will respond affirmatively. The 2020 findings revealed that the population identifying as multiracial grew from 9 million people in 2010 to 33.8 million people in 2020, or a 276% increase, even surprising some demographers. People of color grew from 34% of the total U.S. population in the 2010 census to 43% in 2020. 

These changes were largely driven by two factors:

  1. Immigration has and will continue to diversify the racial and ethnic population in the United States; and
  2. Asking better questions yields better information.

Just as populations are continuing to change, so too should workplaces. Gone are the days when assimilation was assumed to be a key to success in corporations and on the public stage. 

The FQ Toolkit provides data – and a starting point for conscious leaders to catalyze bold change. Think of the FQ Equity Index as the tool that will help you understand where your industry and company stand right now on diversity, equity and inclusion. 


As you consider your DEI strategy and the multi-faceted question of identity, the 2020 Census results offer some clear takeaways.

  • Individual identities are complex and should be treated as such. Almost 40 million census respondents came forward and proudly described their ethnicity in all of its multi-hyphenated glory. People want to be seen and understood for the full complement of what makes them unique. Checking a single box when your identity is more of a tapestry forces a choice where one should not exist! In an organization, this type of binary information is extremely limiting when it comes to understanding the individuals that power the work.
  • Always strive to ask better questions. Understanding your organizational community begins with measuring what matters. As the census shows, identity should be considered dynamic. The information you collect and apply in a DEI context should be regularly evaluated to ensure it is as relevant and informative as possible. 
  • DEI crosses several dimensions; they all matter. The 2020 Census did not capture data on gender identity, beyond a single question which could only be answered in binary terms, as male or female. It is a huge, missed opportunity to further understand the population’s complexity and how gender identity intersects with other demographic factors. Luckily, organizations do not need to wait 10 years between collecting information about their employees. When you think about the many dimensions of DEI, remember that they all matter intensely to those impacted. The richer your understanding of who works at your organization, the better you can serve them.

Start with the FQ Equity Index. Our toolkit is intersectional, inspirational and directional. The FQ Equity Index incorporates all of the facets of DEI in its analysis and is the perfect place to get started by evaluating your current performance.


Get started with the FQ Equity Index now.