OMB Publishes Revisions to Race and Ethnicity Standards for Federal Data Collection

On March 28, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the updated standards for Statistical Policy Direction No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. The revisions come after months of seeking comments from the public, including through requests for public commentspublic listening sessions, and town hall meetings on the topic.

Effective immediately, based on the recommendations of the Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards, a Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) minimum category will be separated from the White category, a decision that has been widely requested by the community (see previous COSSA coverage).

Further, OMB has accepted the single combined question recommendation from the working group, allowing respondents to select multiple race and/or ethnicity options as needed. Additional changes include requiring all federal agencies to adopt the new standards when collecting data, updating terminology, and the development of implementation guidance.

The working group also identified topics for further research, including how to maximize the comparability between Federal Agency data collection and how to encourage respondents to select multiple entries for race and/or ethnicity categories. For more information on the new standards, OMB published a summary of the changes here



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