Consider These Questions
This bulletin establishes guidance for agencies that collect or use aggregate data on race. It also establishes guidance for the allocation of multiple race responses for use in civil rights monitoring and enforcement.
March 9, 2000
OMB BULLETIN NO. 00-02
TO THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
SUBJECT: Guidance on Aggregation and Allocation of Data on Race for Use in Civil Rights Monitoring and Enforcement
Purpose: This Bulletin establishes guidance for agencies that collect or use aggregate data on race. It also establishes guidance for the allocation of multiple race responses for use in civil rights monitoring and enforcement.
Background: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced revisions to the standards for classification of Federal data on race and ethnicity in a Federal Register Notice of October 30, 1997 (62 FR 58782-58790). Revisions to these standards followed a lengthy process that included considerable public involvement and active participation from more than 30 Federal agencies. The revised standards require, among other things, that agencies offer individuals the opportunity to select one or more races when reporting information on race in Federal data collections. The five minimum race categories are American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White.
Census 2000 will be the first nationwide implementation of the revised standards. Data from Census 2000 will capture more accurately the increasing diversity of the Nation's population. Results from Census 2000 will display the full range of single and multiple race reporting by the American people.
As the revised standards for collecting and presenting data are implemented, we must ensure that we maintain our ability to monitor compliance with laws that offer protections for those who historically have experienced discrimination. In addition, we must minimize reporting burden for institutions such as schools and businesses that report aggregate data on race to Federal agencies.
In response to requests from agencies responsible for monitoring and enforcing civil rights laws, OMB has led an interagency group to develop guidance. This guidance addresses the collection of aggregate data when agencies request information from businesses, schools, and other entities. The guidance also addresses the allocation by agencies of responses, whether individual or aggregate, for use in civil rights monitoring and enforcement.
Guidance for aggregation and allocation of multiple race responses for use in civil rights monitoring and enforcement: The attached guidance is designed to be straightforward and easy to implement. It provides consistency across agencies responsible for enforcing civil rights laws, and does not preclude the use of more detailed data if an agency chooses to do so. The guidance does not involve methods that require either fractional or double counting of individuals, or arbitrary allocation of responses to one minority group versus another.
Implementation process: OMB will continue to work closely with the enforcement agencies and the civil rights community to assess these methods as they are implemented over the next few years and to consider the need for future modifications. The guidance provided in this Bulletin will be reflected in the Provisional Guidance on the Implementation of the 1997 Standards for Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity that will be available from OMB later this year.
Inquiries: Inquiries concerning the information in this Bulletin should be directed to Katherine K. Wallman, Chief Statistician (202-395-3093).
Jacob J. Lew
Guidance on Aggregation and Allocation of Multiple Race Responses for Use in Civil Rights Monitoring and Enforcement
I. Aggregation Guidance: Census 2000 will provide 63 categories of data on the population by race; these data will be available by April 1, 2001, at the national, state, local, and census tract levels. Data collected by Federal enforcement agencies often are provided by businesses and institutions in aggregate form. To facilitate agency efforts to work with data on race, an aggregation method is presented below. This method keeps intact the five single race categories, and includes the four double race combinations most frequently reported in recent studies. The method also provides for the collection of information on any multiple race combinations that comprise more than one percent of the population of interest. Based on data from Census 2000, responsible agencies will determine which additional combinations meet the one percent threshold for the relevant jurisdictions. A balance category is provided to report those individual responses that are not included in (1) one of the five single race categories or four double race combinations or (2) other combinations that represent more than one percent of the population in a jurisdiction. The following example illustrates this guidance.
American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African American
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
American Indian or Alaska Native and White
Asian and White
Black or African American and White
American Indian or Alaska Native and Black or African American
> 1 percent: Fill in if applicable(1)____________________
> 1 percent: Fill in if applicable______________________
Balance of individuals reporting more than one race
II. Allocation Guidance: Federal agencies will use the following rules to allocate multiple race responses for use in civil rights monitoring and enforcement.
Responses in the five single race categories are not allocated.
Responses that combine one minority race and white are allocated to the minority race.
Responses that include two or more minority races are allocated as follows:
If the enforcement action is in response to a complaint, allocate to the race that the complainant alleges the discrimination was based on.
If the enforcement action requires assessing disparate impact or discriminatory patterns, analyze the patterns based on alternative allocations to each of the minority groups.
Allocation for enforcement purposes should not be confused with various allocation methods under consideration for "bridging" to past data collections as described in OMB's Provisional Guidance on the Implementation of the 1997 Standards for Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. These bridging methods would take advantage of information being gleaned from Census 2000 and other experimental work being carried out by the statistical agencies. The principal purpose of allocation for bridging is to conduct trend or time series analysis.
1 Based on Census 2000 data, agencies will determine the race combinations that meet the one percent threshold. For example, in Hawaii there may well be combinations of race groups that meet this threshold such as Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and Asian, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and White, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and Asian and White.
Consider These Questions
1. How can the racial classification information referred to in this document be used for "Civil Rights Monitoring and Enforcement"?
2. Assuming federal census takers followed these guidelines in completing Census 2000, what do you think the effect of this level of complexity in racial reporting will be?
3. With this new breakdown of racial categories, do we move closer to or farther away from disputed 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century theories of a relationship between specific biological traits and certain races? Or is there no connection between continued categorization and these theories?