Act now to ensure that federal race and ethnicity data include ALL of our communities
To build an America as good as its ideals, we need accurate data that reflect the full diversity of our communities — allowing us to identify and address inequities and protect civil rights.
The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) race and ethnicity data standards, which set forth the minimum categories that federal agencies must use when they collect information on race and ethnicity, are being revised for the first time since 1997. Given increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the United States and a growing number of people who identify as more than one race and/or ethnicity, many people do not see their identities reflected in the categories available under OMB’s current standards, leading to less accurate federal data that mask inequalities.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s extensive research on race and ethnicity data collection supports three key proposed revisions to OMB’s standards:
Adopt a combined race and ethnicity question format.
Add a new, distinct ethnicity category for people from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Require agencies to collect and report disaggregated data for detailed subgroups (via checkboxes and write-in spaces under the larger categories) to the fullest extent possible.
The bureau’s research over the past decade shows that these changes would better reflect the ways that many people in the United States self-identify, yielding more accurate and useful federal data.
Good data are the foundation for understanding the share of resources our communities receive, developing equitable policy, enforcing civil rights, and more. This is a historic opportunity to modernize how race and ethnicity data are collected to reflect our nation’s rich and growing diversity and advance data equity for our communities. Now is the time to improve how the federal government collects this data so that more of us will see ourselves included in it!
Take action now to urge OMB to improve its race and ethnicity data standards!
Let OMB know why updated race and ethnicity standards are important to you. Add your name and email address and customize the message below to submit your comment directly to OMB!
Your organization can also sign on here to comments prepared by The Leadership Conference and our coalition partners in response to OMB’s Federal Register Notice!
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