White House Announces Big Changes for Race and Ethnicity Data Collection

Published in Ethnic Media Services on

New OMB Standards Include Changes for AANHPI Communities - include Middle Easterners and North Africans for the first time

The White House March 28 morning rolled out new standards for race and ethnicity data collection, including for the first time Middle Easterners and North Africans — MENA — as a racial category.

The changes in reclassification of several communities were rolled out by the Biden Administration’s Office of Management and Budget. The changes to Directive 15 require federal agencies to use one combined question for race and ethnicity, and encourages respondents to select multiple options on how they identify. Advocates say the granular data will help determine the allocation of federal funds, and could impact redistricting. The standards have not been changed since 1997.

John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice – AAJC, said: “We are pleased that OMB has listened to advocacy groups like Advancing Justice – AAJC and revised their standards to reflect those recommendations, which includes requiring data disaggregation, a combined question about race and ethnicity, and the addition of a MENA category. This is something we have been advocating for extensively for more than a decade.”