OMB Revisits Race and Ethnicity Data Collection

FABBS responded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Request for Information (RFI) seeking stakeholder input on updating their race and ethnicity statistical standards.

[See FABBS response]

The RFI reflects important progress in updating race and ethnicity standards in data within OMB’s 1997 Statistical Policy Directive No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (SPD 15). FABBS supports the proposed changes better capture the current diversity more accurately across the U.S. while recognizing the inherent limitations of race as a social construct.

FABBS expressed support for implementing a combined race and ethnicity question, adding “Middle Eastern or North African” (MENA) as a new minimum category, updating outdated terminology, and gathering the collected of more detailed race and ethnicity categories.

FABBS also recommended future work for the task force, including considerations of intersectionality, and creating a standardized measure for immigrant status. Further, FABBS encourages the taskforce to delve into the reasons for collecting these data, and what implications it can potentially have on health outcomes for groups.

FABBS comments were informed by Robert Sellers, PhD and FABBS member at large, and Sandra Graham, PhD and former FABBS board member.

We look forward to further conversations on this important topic.