National CAPACD Affirms OMB’s Revisions to Federal Data Collection Standards

The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) applauds the Biden Administration’s announcement of revisions to Statistical Policy Directive No. 15 (SPD 15): Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. This monumental update, the first in over two decades, will provide a greater and more detailed understanding of America’s diverse population, which is a significant step towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

National CAPACD’s commitment to data disaggregation spans decades. We have advocated tirelessly for greater disaggregation to address the longstanding disparities in racial and ethnic data collection, particularly in areas such as mortgage lending, small business lending, and housing outcomes. From the onset of the Biden Administration, we have actively collaborated with the President, senior advisors, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and various governmental entities to ensure that race and ethnicity data collection across federal agencies adheres to comparable and consistent standards. 

The revised SPD-15 proposes to: collect race and ethnicity in one combined question, add Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) as a new minimum category, require as default the collection of detailed race and ethnicity categories unless agencies demonstrate burden, update terminology, and provide guidelines around implementation. While these new standards are welcome additions, it will be of utmost importance to ensure that agencies do not use the demonstration of additional burden to avoid these new detailed race and ethnicity data collection standards. Of the updated standards, National CAPACD’s recommendations to encourage the collection of detailed data on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities and inclusion of MENA as a minimum category were reflected in the proposal.

“We are pleased to see the Biden Administration take this critical step towards ensuring that our communities are accurately represented in federal data collection efforts,” says Seema Agnani, CEO of National CAPACD. “Requiring federal agencies to collect details beyond the minimum race and ethnicity standards will capture many nuances that are overlooked in current data collection standards that set requirements at the aggregated level. We look forward to working with the Administration to make sure these standards are implemented and using what we learn to support our communities.”

We also remain committed to continued advocacy efforts with national AA and NHPI partner organizations to ensure that our collective communities are equitably represented in federal data collection standards.

National CAPACD appreciates the Administration’s attention to this important issue, and we stand ready with our AA and NHPI partners and other organizations representing underserved communities to engage fully to ensure that we are accurately represented and empowered in the policymaking process.