The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is committed to a full, transparent revision process, with input from the American public, to ensure the rigor, validity, objectivity, and impartiality of the resulting recommended revisions. To do so, OMB will continue to provide updates on the process.
Below are three ways for the public to share their perspectives and input with the Working Group.
OMB requests comments on the initial proposals from the Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards (Working Group) for revising OMB’s 1997 Statistical Policy Directive No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (SPD 15).
Responses to this Notice will be shared with the Working Group and will help the Working Group develop their final recommendations to OMB and will also help OMB determine how to revise SPD 15 to improve the quality and usefulness of Federal race and ethnicity data.
DATES: Comments must be provided in writing to OMB no later than 75 days from the publication of this notice to ensure consideration during the final decision-making process.
ADDRESSES: Please submit comments via www.regulations.gov, a Federal Web site that allows the public to find, review, and submit comments on documents that agencies have published in the Federal Register and that are open for comment. Simply type “OMB-2023-0001” in the Comment or Submission search box, click Go, and follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Comments submitted in response to this notice are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and may be made available to the public. For this reason, please do not include any information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. If you submit your email address, it will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket. Please note that responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as public comments that may be made available to the public notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine notice.
March 1, 2023 — The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards (Working Group) are hosting three Town Halls to hear directly from the American public about the initial proposals to revise Statistical Policy Directive No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (SPD 15).
In August of 2022, OMB announced the start of virtual, bi-monthly listening sessions to hear directly from members of the public. These listening sessions began in September 2022 and are expected to continue through Fall 2023.
Although most of these sessions did not take place in time to inform the initial proposals in this FRN, the information presented in the sessions is currently being evaluated by the Working Group and will inform their work as they develop final recommendations for OMB.
The major themes of the comments heard during the first several months of these listening sessions are described below.
Some presenters supported a combined race and ethnicity question stating that, for example, respondents do not understand a distinction between “race” and “ethnicity” and that the separate questions format has contributed to the rise of the “Some Other Race” population in the decennial census; additionally, some presenters showed their own research findings that a more successful design was a combined race and ethnicity question with descriptive options and allowing for multiple selections.
Additional presenters advised against a combined race and ethnicity question, expressing concern that race data for the Hispanic or Latino population may be lost (e.g., some presenters worry that the Black or African American population in Puerto Rico may only select “Hispanic or Latino” and not “Black or African American” in a combined question format, even with the instruction of “Select all that apply”).
Presenters advocated for the Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) population to be recognized and respected by becoming a new and distinct minimum reporting category because, for example, many in the MENA community do not share the same lived experience as White people with European ancestry, do not identify as White, and are not perceived as White by others.
The addition of a distinct MENA minimum reporting category would recognize this community (e.g., MENA population counts could be used to allocate needed resources).
Presenters supported collecting more granular data to better understand within-group disparities (e.g., collecting disaggregated data for the Asian population or Black or African American population allows for better understanding existing socio-economic and health disparities, determining specific community needs, and allocating program or initiative benefits, etc.).
Presenters suggested that including detailed racial and ethnic categories on questionnaires is more inclusive and allows respondents to report their identities more easily.
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