In the English-speaking world, many terms for people of various multiracial backgrounds exist, some of which are pejorative or are no longer used.
Mulato, zambo and mestizo are used in Spanish, mulato, caboclo, cafuzo, ainoko (from Japanese) and mestiço in Portuguese and mulâtre and métis in French for people of multiracial descent.
Charts and diagrams intended to explain the classifications were common.
In the United States, the 2000 census was the first in the history of the country to offer respondents the option of identifying themselves as belonging to more than one race.
This multiracial option was considered a necessary adaptation to the demographic and cultural changes that the United States has been experiencing.
Perhaps the most significant change for Census 2000 was that respondents were given the option to mark one or more races on the questionnaire to indicate their racial identity.
Census 2000 race data are shown for people who reported a race either alone or in combination with one or more other races.
The development of binary thinking about race meant that African Americans, a high proportion of whom have also had European ancestry, were classified as black. Many Americans today are multi-racial without knowing it.
According to the Census Bureau, as of 2002, over 75% of all African Americans had multiracial ancestries.
In English, the terms miscegenation and amalgamation were used for unions between the races.
These terms are now often considered offensive and are becoming obsolete.
At one time, Latin American census categories have used such classifications but, in Brazilian censuses since the Imperial times, for example, most persons of multiracial heritage, except the Asian Brazilians of some European descent (or any other to the extent it is not clearly perceptible) and vice versa, tend to be thrown into the single category of "pardo", although race lines in Brazil do not denote ancestry but phenotype, and as such a westernized Amerindian of copper-colored skin is also a "pardo", a caboclo in this case, despite being not multiracial, but a European-looking person with one or more African and/or Indigenous American ancestor is not a "pardo" but a "branco", or a White Brazilian, the same applies to "negros" or Afro-Brazilians and European and/or Amerindian ancestors.
Most Brazilians of all racial groups (except Asian Brazilians and Natives) are to some extent mixed-race according to genetic research.
S Census by any combination of races, whereas before Americans were required to select from only one category. has a growing multiracial identity movement, reflective of a desire by people to claim their full identities.