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Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology Policy Seminar December 5, 2012 Washington, DC With thanks to Jennifer Madans, Associate Director for Science,

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Presentation on theme: "Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology Policy Seminar December 5, 2012 Washington, DC With thanks to Jennifer Madans, Associate Director for Science,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology Policy Seminar December 5, 2012 Washington, DC With thanks to Jennifer Madans, Associate Director for Science, NCHS New Directions in Measuring Race and Ethnicity: Implications From the 2010 Census Alternative Questionnaire Experiment Remarks by Susan Schechter

2 High level recap of role of OMB in setting classification standards Changes in the measurement of race and ethnicity over time Results of the 2010 Census AQE--Implications for the statistical community 2 Overview

3 Statistical policy and coordination Maintenance and improvement of the quality of Federal statistics Development and oversight of Government-wide policies, principles, standards, and guidelines – specifically - – Statistical collection procedures and methods; – Statistical data classification; and – Statistical information presentation and dissemination 3 Responsibilities of OMB

4 North American Industry Classification System Standard Occupational Classification System Standards for Defining Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas; and Standards for Classification of Data on Race and Ethnicity 4 Federal Statistical Standards and Classification

5 Long history of collecting statistics on race and ethnicity by government agencies, most notably the Decennial Census The 1960’s civil rights law, the 1970’s Voting Rights Act led to greater need for data on race Public Law Required all Federal agencies to provide separate counts of the Hispanic population in data collections Agencies within and across departments increasingly were collecting data related to race and ethnicity 5 History

6 Federal agencies sought OMB leadership to develop common, government-wide standards for data on race and ethnicity Three year interagency effort The first Federal Government standard for data collection and presentation issued in an OMB Circular in 1977 – Statistical Policy Directive No ’s

7 These standards represented a minimum common language for reporting data on race – American Indian or Alaskan Native (AIAN) – Asian or Pacific Islander (API) – Black – White Separate question: Hispanic Origin 7 Statistical Policy Directive No. 15

8 Four categories did not reflect the increasing diversity of the Nation’s population – Required selection of one of four race categories – No option to indicate multiracial background 1990 Census – constituents complained to Congress about categories; half a million multiple race respondents After the 1990 Census, standards came under increasing criticism for not reflecting Nation’s diversity 8 Response to Directive 15

9 A four year review began in 1993 No promise that any changes would be made unless such changes were supported by compelling research, public concerns and/or agency justifications Multi-year research agenda involving tests in several major sample surveys Public hearings, interagency committee, and opportunities for public comment 9 Comprehensive Review of Standards

10 How should data on individuals of multiple race backgrounds be classified? Should “Hispanic” be a response option to the race question? If data on race and ethnicity were to be collected using two separate questions, what should the sequence of questions be? 10 Key Review Questions

11 Should data on Native Hawaiians continue to be classified in the Asian and Pacific Islander category? Should the minimum set of categories for data on race and ethnicity be expanded to include other population groups? Should the terminology for some of the categories be changed? Should there be a “multiracial” category or a “mark all that apply” option? 11 Key Review Questions (continued)

12 OMB published the final revised standards in the Federal Register. The standards permitted agencies to phase-in implementation until January 1, 2003, particularly in order to accommodate the necessary changes needed to record-keeping systems Many changes – two of relevance to AQE – Two question format is the preferred data collection method, with the Hispanic origin question preceding the race question – Mark one or more races approved 12 October 30, 1997

13 OMB recognized that the revision would result in fundamental changes in the collection, analysis and reporting of data on race/ethnicity OMB also realized that additional research was needed: – Improve the reporting of race data among Hispanic individuals – Redesign data collection forms to conform to the revised standards – Reporting of multiple races complex 13 Post 1997 Standards

14 The 1997 standards have also been criticized The AQE was designed to address these concerns Any change in ACS/2020 Census data collection will have ramifications across the statistical system Issues to consider in making changes – What are the data collection objectives? – What methods are needed to meet those objectives? – Impact on comparability across data systems and over time? 14 The Next Phase

15 To monitor equal access and adherence to non- discrimination laws (e.g., housing, education, mortgage lending, health care, employment) To identify disadvantaged groups to allocate resources and set and monitor social policy To help identify disparities AND/OR Affirmation, recognition, and identity of our population 15 Circling Back: Why Collect These Data?

16 Race is a social concept and a product of the Nation’s political and social history--categories change over time Which data collection objective is being met? – Demand for recognition, choice, and identity expression by an increasing number of groups -- intensive data collection – If civil rights and measuring discrimination are the primary objectives, which groups should be included? – Is minimizing ‘missing’ data still an objective or can we accept that race is not meaningful for some people? 16 Old and New Assumptions

17 Multiple potential objectives – Different objectives require different methods – Some objectives require intensive methods A range of data collection methods are used – Census and Surveys have multiple modes – Mail/Internet versions--limited space and format critical – Administrative systems – minimal control over primary data collection, quality, and timeliness Decisions that maximize collection in one system (Census) but which are not portable can adversely affect comparability – Multiple checkboxes or write-ins 17 Continued Challenges Facing Federal Data Systems

18 Census data are used – To develop sample designs and survey controls for major demographic surveys – To develop population estimates used as denominators by other programs that obtain data from administrative records Population estimates use information from administrative sources (vital records) Lack of comparability across the system adversely affects all components 18 Changes in Census Impact Statistical Agencies

19 Shift in the 2020 Census (or earlier in ACS) will trigger the need for many agencies to respond – Should each agency change their questions? – Can and will crosswalks between question versions be developed prior to any changes? – Do agencies have the resources and money to make these changes? – Do the benefits of a change outweigh the costs and how can such decisions be made? 19 Implications of the AQE Research

20 Thank You! Susan Schechter, Senior Fellow NORC at the University of Chicago


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