Re-counting race and ethnicity: the distribution of racial identities when MENA and Hispanic/Latino are minimum reporting categories

Executive Summary

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) establishes the federal government’s standards for collecting data on the race and ethnicity of all persons residing in the United States. OMB’s 1997 Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (SPD 15), allows all persons to be classified by ethnicity and race with separate minimum reporting categories for both classifications.

This paper examines how proposed changes to SPD 15 will affect self-selected racial and ethnic identities of persons in Marketplace and Medicaid enrollment data. To the extent that the proposed changes in SPD 15 will substantively alter self-selected race and ethnicity, then the proposed changes will also alter our understanding of racial and ethnic disparities in health care access and other outcomes.

This paper was funded by a sub-grant from the National Health Law Program, a health advocacy non-profit.

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