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Count All Kids Steering Committee Response to Updated Standards for Race and Ethnicity Data Collection

Statement from the Count All Kids Steering Committee Members
Response to U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s Revisions to Statistical Policy Directive No.15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Date on Race and Ethnicity

The Partnership for America’s Children, Coalition on Human Needs, ZERO TO THREE, and First Focus on Children, as members of the Count All Kids Steering Committee, applaud the updated standards for race and ethnicity data collection updated by OMB on March 28, 2024.

The revised standards will increase the accuracy and specificity of federal data and will more accurately portray the incredible diversity represented within the United States. Improved strategies for collecting, processing, and reporting data on race and ethnicity are particularly important for children because these data inform programs and services that address redistricting and school development, child poverty, education, and health insurance.

“The projected demographic changes for young children are particularly important given the new standards announced by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget regarding what data will be collected by federal agencies and states implementing federal programs with respect to race and ethnicity because young children are the most racially/ethnically diverse age group and they are in the vanguard of the nation’s changing demographic landscape,” said Dr. Bill O’Hare, member of the Count All Kids Steering Committee.

We applaud the decision to use one combined question for race and ethnicity because Census Bureau research shows that will allow more accurate collection, tabulation, and reporting of data. Since young children are the most racially and ethnically diverse age group, this change is likely to improve data for children the most.

We applaud the decision to add Middle Eastern or North African as a minimum category. Since this is one of the fastest-growing communities in the country, gathering more accurate data will provide a better reflection of our Nation.

We applaud the instruction for federal agencies to submit an Agency Action Plan for complete compliance within 18 months and to bring all data collections and programs into compliance with the updated standards within five years.  We agree that in most cases, this can be done much sooner and thank the chief statistician for directing the office’s efforts to help agencies collect and release data under these updated standards as quickly as possible.

We applaud the establishment of the Interagency Committee on Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards to regularly review this updated directive. The Count All Kids coalition also commits to continued vigilance and accountability to ensure that we are continually improving data collection and reporting, especially for young children.

Our network of advocates represents children and families of diverse races, ethnicities, languages, countries of origin, and myriad other meaningful forms of identity. Therefore, we believe that if some of our communities are not represented accurately, we must continue to improve until the data routinely gathered by the Federal government accurately reflects all of our children and families. The implementation of these improved standards is central to our democracy and will create intergenerational impact on our children, families, and society.

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