Race and ethnicity information page

Race and Ethnicity definitions evolve over time. Currently, OFM race products use the Federal 1997 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standard for reporting races. However, on March 28, 2024, the OMB revised federal standards for the reporting of race and ethnicity data through Statistical Policy Directive 15 (SPD 15). OMB has posted information about the new standard and the process used to review and update the standard at this website: https://spd15revision.gov/. OFM intends to transition to this standard (known as the 2024 OMB standard) as necessary data sources become available. The Federal transition has a deadline of March 2029.

Current race and ethnicity information

1997 OMB classification standards: Implementation guidance | Federal Register notice.

For guidance on race and ethnicity coding in the 2020 Census please see: 2020 Census State Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File: Technical Documentation (appendix F)

Information on changes in the measurement of race and ethnicity in the decennial census: 1790-2020 | 1790-2010.

2024 SPD 15 update key points:

  1. Ethnicity (Hispanic status) will no longer be asked in a separate question from race but instead will be part of a combined race and ethnicity question.
  2. A new Middle Eastern, North African (MENA) category has been added to the core race categories.
  3. The standard defines the minimum number of race categories, but specifies that more detailed race categories should be used as the default mode of collection.
  4. Question language and race-specific terminology has been updated (one example: “Mark one or more” has been changed to “Mark all that apply”).

Aditional information

OMB Publishes Revisions to Statistical Policy Directive No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting and Presenting Federal data on Race and Ethnicity.

For guidance on bridging the older data to the new standard: Bridging data tools (Interagency Technical Working Group).

For guidance on the impacts of SPD 15 at the Census Bureau: What Updates to OMB’s Race/Ethnicity Standards Mean for the Census Bureau.

For information on race and education in Washington (Education Research & Data Center): Reporting on the racial and ethnic identities of Washington public K-12 students.


Last updated
Thursday, June 6, 2024
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