National Center for Education Statistics

OMB Releases Initial Set of Recommended Revisions to the Federal Race and Ethnicity Standards

Recently, the Office of the Chief Statistician, within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), released an initial set of recommended revisions for OMB’s Statistical Policy Directive No. 15 (SPD 15), which provides the statistical standards for collecting and reporting race and ethnicity data across federal agencies. The revisions were proposed by an Interagency Technical Working Group.

This is the next step in a process that began last summer with a simple goal: to ensure that the standards better reflect the diversity of the American people. The initial proposals—developed by federal government staff representing more than 20 agencies—include the following:

  • collecting race and ethnicity together with a single question
  • adding a response category for Middle Eastern and North African that is separate and distinct from the “White” category
  • updating SPD 15’s terminology, definitions, and question wording

These recommendations are preliminary—not final—and they do not represent the positions of OMB or the agencies participating in the Working Group.

The Working Group is committed to a full, transparent revision process and remains on track to reach the goal of completing these important revisions by the summer of 2024.

The Working Group Wants to Hear Directly From the American People

The public’s participation in this process will play a critical role in helping the Working Group improve the way federal agencies safely and accurately collect and use information on the race and ethnicity of our diverse population.

Interested stakeholders can read the full Federal Register Notice and provide comments, participate in one of the Working Group’s bi-monthly virtual listening sessions or upcoming virtual town halls, and schedule a listening session.

Be sure to follow NCES on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and YouTube and subscribe to the NCES News Flash to receive notifications about the revision process and opportunities to engage with the Working Group.

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