Since the BLS has categories for many other areas of self-definition, why not add Atheist ? What if one wants to know the unemployment rate for Atheists ? And for that matter, why not classify student test results by religion rather than ethnicity ? (Maybe Atheists have high scores and low unemployment !)
More seriously, the BLS defines ethnicity as a socio-political construct, and goes out of their way to note it is not a genetic categorization. By their own standards therefore, there is no reason for ethnic categories to get such play as opposed to a myriad of other possibilities. It's poor and unilluminating social science.
When it comes to academic achievement, is there a stronger correlation between the rather hazy definitions of ethnicity and race as opposed to religion ? In fact, the strongest correlation is the educational background of the household a child lives in.
The reason for the focus on skin color and ethnicity is an outgrowth of nationalist left politics from the 60's. These type of movements are and were easily co-opted. After all, capitalism is about selling as much merch as possible, and money is a common denominator.
Meanwhile, the BLS can lump Hmong refugees and Hong Kong-Chinese engineers into a single category (Asian) and call it science - all rather silly, but much of the statistical analysis regurgitated by our government is.
So just give The Atheists their own slice of the pie, too. Call it Atheist Studies.
1"Atheists at Christmas" - Ap; Condon