March 23 2010
10th Chet (Samvat 542 Nanakshahi)
Press Release

Write-In “Sikh” in the “Other Race” category for Question 9 on the 2010 Census Form

The campaign undertaken by UNITED SIKHS and other Sikh organizations to get Sikhs counted and disaggregated correctly has received overwhelming support from community leaders and members of the Sikh community. We urge all Sikhs, as an ethnic group in the United States, to make visible our presence as an integral part of the economic, social, civic and cultural fabric of the country by filling out the Census form, by marking “Some Other Race,” and writing in “Sikh.”

Many organizations and gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) around the country have lent their support to the campaign by organizing awareness meetings in the community, in addition to the formation of several Sikh Complete Count Committees. The government uses Census data to allocate resources, drawing districts for political representation, and determining what areas require special assistance. You can review the petition and supporting academic paper at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/petitions/census.php. Have questions? Review the FAQ and feel free to contact us.

Isn’t Sikhism a religion, not a race?
Beyond being recognized for our faith, Sikhs are recognized as an ethnic group in many countries owing to their distinct identity and idea of the “kaum.” We have a distinct language (Gurmukhi script), religion, marriage, festivals, appearance, and other cultural variances; important factors that qualify Sikhs as an ethnic group. There are Sikhs who are of different colors and races that would like to be coded as Sikhs, for if you ask them their identity, their response does not include Black, White, Indian or Chinese; rather they say “I am a Sikh.” When people see us, they don't think about our skin color first, they think about what we appear to be otherwise.

You recently released a press release saying we are not getting a separate code for 2010 Census, but may in the future. Why bother now?
The Census Bureau informed us that they could not assign a code for this Census, but that, “Beyond the 2010 Census, we will consider changes to the processing of the term “Sikh” when it is provided in response to the question on race.” It is very important for Sikhs to write-in and identify themselves.  In addition to increased visibility, it strengthens our case by sending a strong message that we want to be counted separately, and this is something we want as a community. Also, in previous counts, other ethnic groups have been counted separately if they have substantial write-ins. Even if we do not have a separate code, the write-in forms will be retained and the Census Bureau will review the data. Also, the forms become a part of national historical data and are made public after 72 years. Obtaining a code will impact other key demographic surveys administered by the government like the Annual American Community Survey, which also currently codes Sikhs as Asian Indian. This campaign is for now, and our future generations.

For more answers to frequently asked questions, review the FAQ. Still have unanswered questions or doubts about the Census form? Email them to law-usa@unitedsikhs.org.

Do your part! Fill out the form, mark “Sikh” in the “Other Race” category for Q: 9

You can see previous Census related press releases at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-19-03-2010-00.html

Issued by:

Jaspreet Singh
Staff Attorney
(646) 315-3909


We are continuing our work for Sikhs to be correctly counted in future Census counts. It is important for Sikhs all over the country to write-in 'Sikh' to support the argument for a separate code in the future and for an accurate reflection in raw Census data once it becomes available. If all Sikhs in the country correctly identify themselves as Sikhs 'Sikh', we will be successful in getting Sikhs counted correctly in the future.

“I completed my census, and identified myself as a Sikh. It feels great to be able to differentiate ourselves. Who would ever thought this time would come since I grew up in America. It is truly a historic moment.” - Simmy Lamba

“We will do our best. I personally made about 100 phone calls to all my relatives and friends. Thank very much for this vital information. I will forward to every one I know. I will have our local Gurudwara Sahib in Yuba City make announcements.” - J Singh

“The question is: how important is it for you to be recognized as a Sikh...and desiring your future generations to flourish as Sikhs, while being full-fledged Americans as well.” - Simran

Have questions? Review the FAQ and feel free to contact us.


Contact Us

UNITED SIKHS encourages the Sikh community to wear their kakaars, fearlessly exercise their freedom of religion, and to contact us with any problems, concerns, or incidents of discrimination.

UNITED SIKHS needs your support to undertake relief efforts in Pakistan and help those whose lives and livelihoods are severely threatened. 15 families need to be rehabilitated, and only 9 have received help so far.

To donate to the Pakistan IDP Relief effort, please Click here or contact your local UNITED SIKHS office.

To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.

UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.

UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.

Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.

We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.