Assessing Availability and Quality of Administrative Records for Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: Introduction and Federal Database Analysis

March 14, 2024

The report is first in a three-part series to better understand the different roles administrative records can play in Census data collection processes




The role of administrative records—defined as records collected by state, local, or federal government agencies for the implementation of programs—has grown substantially over the last several decades in the planning, implementation, processing, and quality measurement of the United States Census Bureau’s decennial census. Given this rising reliance on administrative records, and the Census Bureau’s current research into even deeper use of them in the 2030 Census, it is important that we understand the strengths and limitations of increased administrative records usage. This research project sets out to understand one key component of these strengths and limitations—the coverage of race information, specifically for the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities, in administrative records.

In order to achieve this goal, we assess the coverage and suitability of federal and state data collections that identify Asian American and NHPI populations. Specifically, we are interested in federal and state administrative records, and the degree to which they not only include Asian American and NHPI communities, but also to what extent they provide disaggregated race data on these populations. To better evaluate this topic, we focus on governmental census, survey, and administrative records that collect information on individuals.

Extensive research reviewing the effectiveness of survey and census collections for capturing race and ethnicity information exists. Furthermore, the Census Bureau has completed several studies on the use of specific administrative records to help in the enumeration, or the counting of the whole population. Some research has been undertaken on the presence of race and ethnicity data and the coverage of those data in administrative records. To our knowledge, an exhaustive analysis of potential administrative data sources with a specific focus on what racial characteristics are captured does not exist. To fill this gap and accomplish this research, we will develop a robust list of information collected in the federal sector and selected states. We will analyze this list to determine information collections that could enhance the universe of administrative record sources used by the Census Bureau to support the measurement of the total population and improve race and ethnicity coverage, with a focus on Asian Americans and NHPIs.

This is the first in a series of white papers that will culminate in a final report. The publications in this series are:
1. Introduction, methodology, and analysis of federal data collections;
2. Analysis of administrative records collected by selected states; and,
3. Final report, with recommendations and conclusions based on the previous analysis.