agencies and other data users that some populations do not easily fit into existing categories or want to be reclassified from one category to another.

The House Subcommittee on Census, Statistics, and Postal Personnel held a set of hearings in 1993 on the federal standard noting the need for a review of the standards. In preparation for a review of the standard, the Office of Management and Budget requested the Committee on National Statistics to conduct a workshop of key stakeholders to articulate the issues. The workshop, held in February 1994, found that the current categories have broad usage beyond the federal statistical system and have become reified as absolute standards. And yet, many individuals do not readily identify with a single, broad, homogeneous, and mutually exclusive category used in standard classifications. Some prefer multicultural classifications and others prefer subcategories of the broader categories. Such findings are consistent with the Census Bureau's experience with stakeholders. Any revisions to the federal standard will require examination of the Census Bureau's collection, use, and presentation of race and ethnicity data, which are broader than that of most federal agencies. This is of particular importance as the census provides the benchmark for other federal data.

It seems clear that to ensure data of high quality and to identify race and ethnicity concepts that are appropriate for the changing racial and ethnic populations of the United States, the Census Bureau must conduct a comprehensive research and testing program for the 2000 census and establish an even more extensive long-range program of research and testing.



OMB Statistical Directive 15 has set forth the race and ethnicity standards for federal administrative and statistical reporting since 1977. Directive 15 acknowledges four racial groups (American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, and White) and two ethnic categories (Hispanic Origin and Not of Hispanic Origin). OMB is currently in the process of reviewing the race and ethnicity classifications.


This number includes people who indicate more than one ancestry.


1980 figures are from U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of the Population Supplementary Report, "Ancestry of the Population by State." PC80-S1-10. Figures for 1990 are from U.S. Bureau of the Census, Ethnic and Hispanic Branch, Population Division, "1990 Detailed Ancestry Groups for States," CPH-L-97, a supplement to the 1990 CP-S-1-2, "Detailed Ancestry Groups for States."

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