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 is how the public can share their perspectives and input with the Working Group.
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.
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requested comments on the initial proposals from the Federal Interagency Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards (Working Group) from January 27 - April 27, 2023.
The Working Group will continue to deliberate, assess evidence, and take into consideration comments received from the public before making final recommendations for OMB’s consideration.
The public comments received can be viewed at Regulations.gov.
March 2023 — The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Federal Interagency Technical Working Group on Race and Ethnicity Standards (Working Group) hosted 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).