The Office of Management and Budget has published a second request for comments about potential changes to the 1997 standards for maintaining, collecting, and presenting federal data on race and ethnicity. Similar to its first request of comments published in September 2016, this request seeks public comments about 1) whether the questions on race (American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, or White) and on ethnicity (Hispanic/Latino or not Hispanic/Latino) should be combined; 2) whether there should be a separate category for Middle Eastern and North African individuals; 3) whether these race and ethnicity minimum categories should be disaggregated (and what specific disaggregated categories should be required or encouraged) and 4) changes in terminology about these racial and ethnic categories.
In response its first request for comments, OMB received a total of 3,750 comments, including over 1,200 comments specifically supporting disaggregation of the Asian and the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander categories, and over 2,200 comments in support of a Middle Eastern and Northern African category.
Based on the recommendations of a federal Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) for Research on Race and Ethnicity and its analysis of the public comments submitted, OMB has identified specific options for implementing each of these changes and seeks public comments on the identified options.
Comments are due on April 30 and may be submitted online.
The IWG report and recommendations also have been published:
The IWG also has published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about this second request for public comments:
The IWG itself references this lengthy report from the U.S. Census Bureau on the 2015 National Content Test related to race and ethnicity questions: