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  • IR In The Know
  • 03.29.24

OMB Releases Updated Statistical Policy Directive on Federal Data Collection Regarding Race and Ethnicity

  • by AIR

On March 28, 2024, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently announced significant revisions to Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, which governs the standards for collecting, maintaining, and presenting federal data on race and ethnicity. These revisions represent a critical step towards improving the accuracy, consistency, and relevance of federal data related to race and ethnicity.

The revised directive aims to address longstanding concerns regarding the classification and reporting of race and ethnicity data across federal agencies. It provides updated guidance and standards to ensure that federal data collection efforts accurately reflect the diversity and complexity of the American population.

OMB also announced it is establishing an Interagency Committee on Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards that will maintain and carry out a government-wide research agenda, including regular reviews of Directive No. 15.

The revised approach entails using a single, inclusive question for both race and ethnicity, encouraging respondents to select multiple options that reflect their identity. A significant update involves the inclusion of Middle Eastern or North African as a mandatory category. The revised minimum race and/or ethnicity categories comprise:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Middle Eastern or North African
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • White

Furthermore, the standards mandate the collection of additional details beyond the minimum required categories in most cases. This ensures comprehensive disaggregation of data during collection, tabulation, and presentation, whenever it proves useful and appropriate.

Additionally, the updated standards encompass several other revisions, including updates to definitions, terminology, and guidance for agencies regarding data collection and presentation.

The standards direct federal agencies to promptly begin updating their surveys and administrative forms and submit an Agency Action Plan for full compliance within 18 months, ensuring that all data collections and programs are fully compliant with the updated standards within five years.


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