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"Middle Eastern or North African"

Initial Proposal 2: Add “Middle Eastern or North African” (MENA) as a new minimum category.

The Working Group proposes that “Middle Eastern or North African” be added to SPD 15 as a new minimum reporting category distinct from all other reporting categories. The definition of the current “White” reporting category would be edited to remove MENA from its definition.


Currently in SPD 15, the “White” minimum category specifically includes in its definition those having origins in any of the original peoples of the Middle East or North Africa. Research suggests that many MENA respondents view their identity as distinct from White, and stakeholders have, for over 30 years, advocated for collecting MENA information separate from White.

The Working Group developed the following draft definition of a MENA minimum category to be inclusive of both Middle Eastern and North African populations and with the rationale of listing larger population groups in the U.S.: The category “Middle Eastern or North African” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups with origins in the Middle East and North Africa. Examples include, but are not limited to, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, and Israeli.

Page Last Revised - May 10, 2023