Membership FAQ - Ethnicity

  1. Q: Why does USA Swimming want to know what my ethnic origin is? I really don't want to be singled out.
    A: USA Swimming does not want to single out anyone. We simply want to identify who our membership is so that we can help plan for our future. The demographic study done in 1997 had no ethnic figures to use from our membership, so they had to use National Census numbers to generate what trends we might expect in the upcoming years.

  2. Q: Why is it so important to know anyone's ethnicity? Don't we simply just want to grow our total membership regardless?
    A: The point is we want to continue to grow our membership. The census numbers tell us that in 1994 the composition of the 18 and under national population was 67% white, 15% Black, 13% Hispanic and 5% Asian/Other. In 2025 the 18 and under national population break will be 52%, White, 16% Black, 24% Hispanic and 8% Asian/Other. We can only guess that today's USA Swimming population is approximately 90% white. These are the latest census figures about annual income for single family households. The average income for Whites is $35,800, for Blacks, $22,500, for Hispanics is $22,900 and Asians/Other is $40,600. If the fastest growing populations earn on the average less than our average families earn now, we have to know about it and plan for it.

  3. Q: If you can gather all this from the census figures, why does USA Swimming need to do it?
    A: Because USA Swimming needs to identify which LSC's and areas of the country are doing a good job of servicing our minority populations. Plus we need to compare what the USA Swimming numbers are to the census numbers. We can't do that right now. If we could compare the numbers, perhaps we could target some areas for growth and attract sponsorship dollars to help get these areas started.

  4. Q: By attracting sponsorship dollars for "outreach" programs, aren't we neglecting the non-minority athletes?
    A: Absolutely not. The potential sponsorship dollars may only be available for the specific purpose of helping USA Swimming grow it's minority populations. In the past, we have talked to sponsors whose specific goal was increase participation among disadvantaged youth.

  5. Q: OK, so I have a better understanding of the ethnicity question, how can I help?
    A: You can help us by encouraging everyone on your club to fill out all the membership forms as completely as possible. If someone still has a problem giving us their ethnicity, they can chose the decline category.

  6. Q: I am unsure what you are asking for in the category called "other affiliations".
    A: USA Swimming simply wants to know what other Swimming groups you might belong to. For instance, you might also be affiliated with a high school team or a college team. By determining this kind of information we can determine who our true sister organizations are. This will help us identify possible markets to target for membership growth. Please only list the affiliation that you actively participate in [for example, do not list "Middle School" if you are in middle school, but do not swim on the school's swim team.]

  7. Q: But, what about the non-athlete "other affiliations"?
    A: The same thing, really. It is necessary to determine possible non-member groups to market either for membership or other USA Swimming programs and services. We are also entering a new era in USA Swimming, one that will include building strong partnerships with these sister organizations. These partnerships will serve to strengthen our entire sport.

  8. Q: What's the bottom line?
    A: We need to know who our members are so we can better identify and plan for the future of our sport. You can help us by taking a few extra minutes to complete a registration form. We need to do a better job of keeping our local and national membership data up to date, meaning our addresses and other information that we use to contact people, mail Splash and camp invitations just to name a few. If you know you are going to be moving, contact your club registration person and give them the change of information to forward on to the LSC registration person. The LSC contact will then make sure that the correct information is then forwarded to the National office. We are going to be able to better serve our membership if we have accurate information.

Each individual is allowed to check up to two boxes in the ethnicity section. Checking a box is optional. If an individual does not wish to fill out this section, please check the "decline" box. USA Swimming is trying to differentiate between "decline" and those who simply "forgot".

Following are the Racial/Ethnic Categories [as defined by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and also used by the US Census]:

African American, Black

Persons having origin in any of the Black racial groups of Africa [not of Hispanic origin]

Asian, Pacific Islander

Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands and Samoa.

The Indian Subcontinent takes in the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan.

Caucasian, White

Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East [not of Hispanic origin].


Persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South America, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

Native American, American Indian, Alaskan Native

Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.