Proposals From the Federal Interagency Working Group for Revision of the Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, 12242-12247 [2017-03973]

Download as PDF 12242 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 39 / Wednesday, March 1, 2017 / Notices www.usitc.gov/secretary/documents/ handbook_on_filing_procedures.pdf. In accordance with sections 201.16(c) and 207.3 of the rules, each document filed by a party to the reviews must be served on all other parties to the reviews (as identified by either the public or BPI service list), and a certificate of service must be timely filed. The Secretary will not accept a document for filing without a certificate of service. Determination.—The Commission has determined these reviews are extraordinarily complicated and therefore has determined to exercise its authority to extend the review period by up to 90 days pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1675(c)(5)(B). Authority: This review is being conducted under authority of title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930; this notice is published pursuant to section 207.62 of the Commission’s rules. under sections 106 and 107 of CERCLA related to this work. In addition, three site owners signed the consent decree agreeing to provide access to the defendants to complete the work. The publication of this notice opens a period for public comment on the proposed Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States v. Pharmacia LLC, et al., D.J. Ref. No. 90–11–2–06089/5. All comments must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days after the publication date of this notice. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail: Send them to: By email ....... By order of the Commission. Issued: February 23, 2017. Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission. To submit comments: pubcomment-ees.enrd@ usdoj.gov. Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ–ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044–7611. By mail ......... [FR Doc. 2017–03939 Filed 2–28–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020–02–P DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act On February 17, 2017, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in the lawsuit entitled United States v. Pharmacia LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 99–063. The United States filed a Third Amended Complaint in this lawsuit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The United States’ complaint names Pharmacia LLC, Solutia Inc., Cerro Flow Products LLC, and ExxonMobil Oil Corporation as defendants. The complaint requests recovery of oversight and other response costs that the United States incurred in connection with remedial efforts taken in Sauget Area 1 and an order requiring completion of remedial work selected in a Record of Decision for Sauget Area 1 located in Sauget, St. Clair County, Illinois. All four defendants signed the proposed Consent Decree, agreeing to pay a total of $475,000 in response costs and complete the work, estimated to cost $14.8 million. In return, the United States agrees not to sue the defendants VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Feb 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 Under section 7003(d) of RCRA, a commenter may request an opportunity for a public meeting in the affected area. During the public comment period, the proposed Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department Web site: https:// www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. We will provide a paper copy of the proposed Consent Decree upon written request and payment of reproduction costs. Please mail your request and payment to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044–7611. Please enclose a check or money order for $58.50 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to the United States Treasury. For a paper copy without Appendices B, C, and D (the Record of Decision, Statement of Work and Financial Assurances), the cost is only $15.50. Randall M. Stone, Acting Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division. [FR Doc. 2017–03927 Filed 2–28–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410–15–P PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET Proposals From the Federal Interagency Working Group for Revision of the Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB). ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: OMB requests comments on the proposals that it has received from the Federal Interagency Working Group for Research on Race and Ethnicity (Working Group) for revisions to OMB’s Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. The Working Group’s report and proposals, which are presented here in brief and available on https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefingroom/presidential-actions/related-ombmaterial and on http:// www.regulations.gov in their entirety, are the result of a two-year, focused review of the implementation of the current standards. The Working Group’s report reflects an examination of current practice, public comment received in response to the Federal Register Notice posted by OMB on September 30, 2016, and empirical analyses of publicly available data. The report also notes statutory needs and feasibility considerations, including cost and public burden. Initial proposals and specific questions to the public appear under the section Issues for Comment. None of the proposals has yet been adopted and no interim decisions have been made concerning them. The Working Group’s report and its proposals are being published to solicit further input from the public. OMB plans to announce its decision in mid2017 so that revisions, if any, can be reflected in preparations for the 2020 Census. OMB can modify or reject any of the proposals, and OMB has the option of making no changes. The report and its proposals are published in this Notice because OMB believes that they are worthy of public discussion, and OMB’s decision will benefit from obtaining the public’s views on the recommendations. DATES: To ensure consideration during the final decision making process, comments must be provided in writing to OMB no later than 60 days from the publication of this notice. Please be aware of delays in mail processing at SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 39 / Wednesday, March 1, 2017 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal facilities due to increased security. Respondents are encouraged to send comments electronically via email or via http://www.regulations.gov. See ADDRESSES below. ADDRESSES: Written comments on the recommendations may be addressed to the Office of the U.S. Chief Statistician, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 9th Floor, 1800 G St. NW., Washington, DC 20503. You may also send comments or questions via email to Race-Ethnicity@omb.eop.gov or to http://www.regulations.gov, a Federal Web site that allows the public to public to find, review, and submit comments on documents that agencies have published in the Federal Register and that are open for comment. Simply type ‘‘OMB–2016–0008’’ in the Comment or Submission search box, click Go, and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available to the public through relevant Web sites. For this reason, please do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. If you send an email comment, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket. Please note that responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as public comments that may be made available to the public notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine notice. Electronic Availability: This document is available on the Internet on the OMB Web site at: https:// www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/ presidential-actions/related-ombmaterial and on http:// www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Park, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Statistician, 1800 G St., 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20503, email address: Race-Ethnicity@omb.eop.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Background To operate efficiently and effectively, the Nation relies on the flow of objective, credible statistics to support the decisions of individuals, households, governments, businesses, and other organizations. Any loss of trust in the accuracy, objectivity, or integrity of the Federal statistical system and its products causes uncertainty about the validity of measures the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Feb 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 Nation uses to monitor and assess its performance, progress, and needs by undermining the public’s confidence in the information released by the Government. A number of Federal legislative and executive actions, informed by national and international practice, have been put into place to maintain public confidence in Federal statistics. Accordingly, in its role as coordinator of the Federal statistical system under the Paperwork Reduction Act (https:// www.reginfo.gov/public/reginfo/ pra.pdf), OMB, among other responsibilities, is required to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the system as well as the integrity, objectivity, impartiality, utility, and confidentiality of information collected for statistical purposes. OMB is also charged with developing and overseeing the implementation of Governmentwide principles, policies, standards, and guidelines concerning the development, presentation, and dissemination of statistical information. For example, Statistical Policy Directive No. 1: Fundamental Responsibilities of Federal Statistical Agencies and Recognized Statistical Units (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ FR-2014-12-02/pdf/2014-28326.pdf) provides a unified framework of Federal statistical agency responsibilities in the production of relevant, accurate, and objective statistical products while maintaining the trust of data providers and users. Statistical Policy Directive No. 2: Standards and Guidelines for Statistical Surveys and accompanying addenda (https://www.whitehouse.gov/ sites/default/files/omb/inforeg/ statpolicy/standards_stat_surveys.pdf) provide overarching, technical standards and guidelines to be used by Federal agencies when preparing statistical products. OMB’s established, independent process for preparing statistical policy directives includes Federal technical evaluation, public comment, and expert statistical analysis. The Federal Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ fedreg_1997standards) are another such example of OMB standards developed using this established, independent process. These current standards were developed in cooperation with Federal agencies to provide consistent and comparable data on race and ethnicity throughout the Federal government for an array of statistical and administrative programs. Development of these Federal data standards stemmed in large measure from new responsibilities to enforce civil rights laws. Data were PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12243 needed to monitor equal access to housing, education, employment opportunities, etc., for population groups that historically had experienced discrimination and differential treatment because of their race or ethnicity. The standards are used not only in the decennial census (which provides the ‘‘denominator’’ for many measures), but also in household surveys, on administrative forms (e.g., school registration and mortgage lending applications), and in medical and other research. In brief, the standards provide a minimum set of categories for data on race and ethnicity that Federal agencies must use if they intend to collect information on race and ethnicity. The standards do not prohibit Federal agencies from collecting more detailed race/ethnicity data. Collection of more detailed information is encouraged by the standards, provided that any additional categories can be aggregated within the minimum standard set if necessary to facilitate comparison of data generated from information collections of varying detail. Selfidentification is the preferred means of obtaining information about an individual’s race and ethnicity, except in instances where observer identification is the only, or most feasible collection mode (e.g., completing a death certificate). Where self-identification is practicable, individuals are encouraged to select as many categories as they deem to be appropriate in describing themselves. Specifically, the current standards state: ‘‘Respect for individual dignity should guide the processes and methods for collecting data on race and ethnicity; ideally, respondent self-identification should be facilitated to the greatest extent possible, recognizing that in some data collection systems observer identification is more practical.’’ The categories developed represent a socio-political construct designed to be used in the self-reported or observed collection of data on the race and ethnicity of major broad population groups in this country, and are not genetically-, anthropologically-, or scientifically-based. The categories in the standards do not identify or designate certain population groups as ‘‘minority groups.’’ As the standards explicitly state, these categories are not to be used for determining the eligibility of population groups for participation in any Federal programs. B. Review Process To maintain the relevance and accuracy of Federal statistics, OMB, in its role coordinating the Federal E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 12244 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 39 / Wednesday, March 1, 2017 / Notices statistical system through the authority provided in the Paperwork Reduction Act, undertakes periodic reviews of its Federal statistical standards. Since the 1997 revision of Federal race/ethnicity standards, much has been learned about their implementation. Over this same time span, the U.S. population has continued to become more racially and ethnically diverse. In accordance with good statistical practice, several Federal agencies have conducted methodological research to better understand how use of the revised standards informs the quality of Federal statistics on race and ethnicity. In 2014, OMB formed the Working Group to exchange research findings, identify implementation issues, and collaborate on a shared research agenda to improve Federal data on race and ethnicity. The Working Group comprises representatives from ten Cabinet departments and three other agencies engaged in the collection or use of Federal race and ethnicity data. Through its systematic review of the implementation of the 1997 revision and stakeholder feedback, the Working Group identified four particular areas where further revisions to the standards might improve the quality of race and ethnicity information collected and presented by Federal agencies. Specifically, these four areas were: 1. The use of separate questions versus a combined question to measure race and ethnicity and question phrasing as a solution to race/ethnicity question nonresponse; 2. The classification of a Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) group and distinct reporting category; 3. The description of the intended use of minimum reporting categories; and 4. The salience of terminology used for race and ethnicity classifications and other language in the standard. Within the Working Group, Subgroups were formed to identify areas for possible revision; review public comments regarding areas identified; conduct empirical analyses of potential improvements; and consider statutory requirements and anticipated public burden and cost. The Subgroups were charged with preparing initial proposals for consideration by the Working Group as a whole, and, subsequently, by OMB. Each Subgroup was comprised of Federal statisticians and/or Federal policy analysts. Several agencies were represented in each Subgroup, and Subgroup co-chairs facilitated work processes. Each Subgroup prepared its analysis plan; these were simultaneously shared and discussed across the Working Group. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Feb 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 On September 30, 2016, OMB issued a notice in the Federal Register (www.regulations.gov/ document?D=OMB-2016-0002-0001) announcing its review and requesting public comment on the areas identified by the Working Group where revision to the current standards might improve the quality of Federal data on race and ethnicity. Specifically, comments were requested on: (1) The adequacy of the current standards in the areas identified for focused review; (2) specific suggestions for the identified areas that have been offered; and (3) principles that should govern any proposed revisions to the standards in the identified areas. After careful review of the 3,750 public comments received, as well as other stakeholder engagement; analysis of publicly available empirical data and cognitive testing results; and consideration of statutory needs, operational feasibility, cost and public burden; the Working Group developed an interim report and now seeks further public comment. The review process and findings are described in detail in the report (LINK). In some cases, initial proposals are also offered. C. Issues for Comment With this notice, OMB requests comments on proposals presented in the interim report of the Federal Interagency Working Group for Research on Race and Ethnicity for revisions to OMB’s Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. These proposals and requests for further public comment appear in the final chapter of the Working Group’s report (LINK) and are presented here for ease of reference. Note that these are issues presented by each separate Subgroup and do not necessarily represent a consensus of the entire Working Group as a whole. The Working Group will continue to deliberate and take into consideration comments received from the public before making final proposals for OMB’s consideration. 1. Questionnaire Format and Nonresponse (a) Initial Plans: The Subgroup plans to continue its review of current Federal agency practices to determine whether or how a revised question format might improve the collection, tabulation, and utility of race/ethnicity statistics for Federal programs and policies. From this review, the Subgroup plans to prepare (initial) proposals for consideration. (b) Request for Public Comment: The Subgroup’s review of current agency PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 practices to collect and report data on race/ethnicity has identified challenges faced by some agencies with the implementation of the current standards. The Subgroup also identified challenges anticipated if the current standards were revised from a Separate Questions format to a Combined Question format. The public comments received to date also articulated both of these concerns, with the public generally noting that a Combined Question approach resonates with personal conceptions of race/ethnicity. (That is, most commentators thought there was no basis to distinguish between race and ethnicity.) However, concerns were also raised regarding the anticipated operational feasibility and cost for implementing this change, particularly among Federal commentators. Analyses to date suggested that collecting these data using a Combined Question may improve information quality for some respondents in some information collections. However, these results may apply most readily to self-reported collections conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, whose data collection and data coding procedures differ from those used by other Federal agencies due to a Congressional requirement particular to Census (See H.R. 2562, 2005–2006). Further, the results do not seem to generalize easily to the collection of race/ethnicity through administrative records—a method on which many Federal agencies rely heavily. Administrative record data collections, which are used more routinely to generate Federal statistics, rely on complementary data collections by administrative units, which add to the complexity of making changes to the racial and ethnic classifications. In effect, each of the individual administrative units must implement the revised categories. In some cases, this implementation may be within systems relying on the same record systems, such in the cases of schools within a district or state. In other cases, changes to administrative record systems may require changing procedures for large numbers of individual institutions, businesses, or organizations. It is clear, however, that both the magnitude and scope of anticipated benefits and costs must be considered. Therefore, to assist in its deliberations, the Subgroup requests public comment on the following questions. Thinking about how information is collected: 1. What factors should be considered when evaluating anticipated information quality? Should both E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 39 / Wednesday, March 1, 2017 / Notices magnitude and scope (that is, the majority of collections) be considered? Should magnitude of the improved information outweigh the scope of the improved change, or vice versa? What amount of improvement would be considered meaningful? How should an improvement in data quality in some Federal data systems be balanced against decreased data quality in other systems? 2. What factors should be considered when evaluating anticipated feasibility? Should burden to local, State, and Federal agencies be considered? What amount of cost spent to augment systems and labor hours used to implement changes would caution against implementing a change? How should potential lags in data delivery be weighed? 3. What factors should be considered when evaluating anticipated cost of implementing a change? Should costs be weighed differently when experienced at a local, State, or Federal level? How should the costs of improving or failing to improve information quality be considered? 4. When considering information quality, feasibility, and cost, how should benefits and costs be weighed? In which cases would information quality outweigh feasibility and cost concerns? In which cases would feasibility and cost concerns outweigh information quality? asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 2. Classification of Middle Eastern or North African Race/Ethnicity (a) Initial Proposal: The Subgroup proposes that a Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) classification be added to the standards. The classification for the Middle Eastern and North African population should be geographically based. The MENA classification should be defined as: ‘‘A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Middle East and North Africa. This includes, for example, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, Israeli, Iraqi, Algerian, and Kurdish.’’ 1 The Subgroup bases this initial recommendation on public comment and analyses to date. During the public comment process for the 1997 standards, OMB received a number of 1 The rationale for using these examples is to include the two largest Middle Eastern Arab nationalities (Lebanese and Syrian), the two largest North African Arab nationalities (Egyptian and Moroccan), and the two largest non-Arab nationalities within the Middle Eastern/North African region (Iranian and Israeli) as the first six examples. This is followed by the next largest Middle Eastern Arab nationality (Iraqi), the next largest North African Arab nationality (Algerian); as well as an example of a transnational, non-Arab group (Kurdish). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Feb 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 requests to add an ethnic category for Arabs and Middle Easterners to the minimum collection standards. OMB heard those requests and encouraged further research on how to collect and improve data on the Arab and Middle Easterner population. Since that time, research has continued and, with the benefit of quantitative and qualitative information collections conducted by the Census Bureau as well as public comment and stakeholder engagement, the results have overwhelmingly supported the classification of a MENA category. (See Interim Report.) Last, findings from the Census Bureau’s 2015 Forum on Ethnic Groups from the Middle East and North Africa (http://www.census.gov/library/workingpapers/2015/demo/2015-MENAExperts.html) and a review of public comments on Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; 2015 National Content Test (12/2/2014) found that some experts and stakeholders believe that a classification of this population should be geographically based. (b) Request for Public Comment: However, some questions remain. Some of the groups proposed for inclusion under a MENA classification were also ethnoreligious groups. A challenge to ethnicity measurement can be the intersection of ethnicity with religious affiliation. The race/ethnicity standards are not intended to measure religion (see Pub. L. 94–521), and it is unclear how to address inclusion of ethnoreligious groups while clearly maintaining the intent and use of the resulting measure as not indicating religion. Further, although the great majority of public comments received on the measurement of MENA supported an additional, required minimum reporting category, the cost and burden of requiring this additional reporting category when race/ethnicity is measured across the Federal government is unclear. 1. If MENA were collected as a separate reporting category, assuming that separate race/ethnicity questions continue to be the standard, should MENA be considered an ethnicity or a race? [Note that, in either case, respondents still will be able to report more than one.] 2. Beyond potentially establishing a specification of a MENA classification (i.e., a description of the national origins and populations that would be included as MENA), the IWG is also researching the potential establishment of MENA as a separate required minimum reporting category. Should the MENA category be a required minimum reporting category PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12245 that is separate from the White minimum reporting category? 3. Outreach conducted with the Israeli American Council and Jewish American organizations indicates that persons of Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, and Sephardi origin do not wish to be included in the MENA category, as these ethnicities directly identify persons as Jewish. Moreover, experts at the Census Bureau’s 2015 Forum on Ethnic Groups from the Middle East and North Africa expressed that those who identify as Assyrian, Chaldean, Coptic, or Druze would like to be included in a MENA category. We ask for public comment regarding the following question: Which, if any, specific ethnoreligious groups should be included in a MENA classification? 4. The Subgroup has also observed from initial feedback that the definition of MENA may be misunderstood to include only persons who are foreign born. Our intention is that a MENA category, should it be adopted, would include persons of MENA origins, regardless of country of birth. We are interested in receiving feedback as to how to best communicate this to respondents. 5. What is the estimated cost and public burden associated with requiring an additional reporting category for MENA across Federal information collections? Given the estimated size of the MENA group, would a separate reporting category allow reporting of statistically reliable estimates? Would the size of the MENA group present confidentiality or privacy concerns? How should the anticipated improvement in information quality be weighed against anticipated feasibility and cost if the additional reporting category were encouraged? If it were required? 3. Additional Minimum Reporting Categories The initial review of the 1997 standards did not identify additional, minimum reporting categories for detailed race/ethnicity groups as an element for evaluation. However, during the public comment period for September 30, 2016’s Federal Register Notice, the Working Group received more than 1,200 comments expressing the need for further disaggregated data for Asian communities and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander communities. Other comments express a similar need for disaggregated data, including 10 comments advocating for the disaggregation of the ‘‘Black or African American’’ category. (a) Initial Proposal: Based on public comment and Federal agency input E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 12246 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 39 / Wednesday, March 1, 2017 / Notices received to date, the Subgroup proposes that OMB issue specific guidelines for the collection of detailed data for American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White groups for self-reported race and ethnicity collections. By providing these guidelines, consistent collection of detailed race and ethnicity data will be supported across Federal agencies. Such direction would not be applied to the collection of observed race/ethnicity, since the accuracy at such a detailed level would be a concern in this form of reporting. Further, the Subgroup plans to consider under what other conditions detailed data should not be collected. However, the Subgroup plans to continue its deliberations as to whether OMB should require or, alternatively, strongly support but not require Federal agencies to collect detailed data. 1. The Subgroup proposes that OMB issue specific guidelines for the collection of detailed race and ethnicity data for collections that are selfreported. (b) Request for Public Comment: The Subgroup requests public comments on the guidelines that should be provided for collecting detailed race and ethnicity data. Additionally, to evaluate whether or not the reporting of detailed categories should be required, or if such reporting should be strongly encouraged but not required, additional information is needed. The Subgroup recognizes that collecting detailed race and ethnicity data likely would impose a substantial cost on Federal agencies, State and local agencies, and private sector entities and burden on the public. Therefore, the Subgroup requests public comment on the consideration that should be given to evaluate the value of improved information quality taking into account anticipated cost and public burden. Specifically, the Subgroup seeks public comment on the following questions: 1. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed American Indian or Alaska Native race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the 2015 National Content Test (NCT) method, which includes separately Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village or Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government, and Nome Eskimo Community? If not, how should OMB select the detailed race and ethnicity categories? 2. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed Asian race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the 2010 Decennial Census and NCT format, which includes separately Chinese, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Feb 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and an ‘‘other Asian’’ category? 2 If not, how should OMB select the detailed Asian race and ethnicity categories? 3. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed Black or African American race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the NCT format, which includes separately African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Somali? If not, how should OMB select the detailed race and ethnicity categories? 4. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed Hispanic or Latino race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the NCT format, which includes separately Mexican or Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, and Colombian? If not, how should OMB select the detailed race and ethnicity categories? 5. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the 2010 Decennial Census format, which includes separately Native Hawaiian, Chamorro,3 Samoan, and an ‘‘other Pacific Islander’’ category? Should it use the NCT format, which includes separately Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, and Marshallese? If neither of these, how should OMB select the detailed Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander race and ethnicity categories? 6. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed White race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the NCT format, which includes separately German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, and French? 4 If not, how should OMB select the detailed race and ethnicity categories? 7. What burden and cost would a Federal requirement to collect detailed race and ethnicity data place on Federal agencies, State and local agencies, 2 The checkboxes used in Census 2010 were Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Other Asian with five additional examples of Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, and Cambodian. 3 In the 1997 standards, the actual OMB standards used the term Guam, not Guamanian. Census 2010 featured the following checkboxes: Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan; and provided the following examples listed for other NHPI: Fijian and Tongan. Since Census 2010, based on feedback received by members of the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander community, Census no longer includes the term Guamanian in its collections. 4 These are the examples used when MENA was included in NCT questionnaires. When MENA was not included in NCT questionnaires, the examples are as follows: German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese, and Egyptian. PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 private sector entities and the public? How should this burden and cost be weighed against any anticipated improvement in information quality? 8. Should Federal agencies be required to collect detailed race and ethnicity data even when such data could not be responsibly reported due to statistical reliability and confidentiality concerns? If so, in which cases? What factors should be considered? 9. If OMB were to strongly encourage, but not require, collection of detailed race and ethnicity data by Federal agencies, how likely are Federal agencies to adopt collection of detailed race and ethnicity data? 10. If OMB were to strongly encourage, but not require, collection of detailed race and ethnicity data by Federal agencies, what criteria should be used to encourage and evaluate conformance with such guidance? 4. Relevance of Terminology (a) Initial Proposals: 1. The Subgroup proposes no changes be made to the current standards to specifically incorporate the following geographic locations into any existing race or ethnicity category: Australian (including the original people of Australia/the Aborigines), Brazilian, Cape Verdean, New Zealander, and Papua New Guinean. This proposal takes into account the low prevalence of these geographic locations appearing as write-in responses according to the research presented above. 2. Based on its analyses to date, the Subgroup proposes more research and public input be conducted to enable a more complete consideration of adding more specific South or Central American subgroups to the current description of the American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN) category in order to improve identification with the reporting category. 3. The Subgroup proposes that the duplicate initial mention of ‘‘Cuban’’ be deleted in the definition of ‘‘Hispanic or Latino’’ so that the listing is presented according to population size. The Subgroup also considered whether the current ordering of the classification listing should be updated to reflect current population size. As a next step, the Subgroup plans to apply this rationale to the classification listing and determine the magnitude and benefit of any resulting changes. The results of this analysis are intended to be shared with the public. 4. The Subgroup proposes that the term ‘‘Negro’’ be removed from the standards. Further, the Subgroup recommends that the term ‘‘Far East’’ be removed from the current standards. E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 39 / Wednesday, March 1, 2017 / Notices 5. The Subgroup also proposes that OMB provide guidance to Federal agencies that race/ethnicity coding procedures be documented and made publicly available, as this would allow greater transparency and promote further consistency in Federal data collections. 6. The Subgroup proposes further clarifying the standards to indicate the classification is not intended to be genetically based, nor based on skin color. Rather, the goal of standards is to provide guidelines for the Federal measurement of race/ethnicity as a social construct and therefore inform public policy decisions. (b) Request for Public Comment: The Subgroup also considered whether referring to Black or African American as the ‘‘principal minority race’’ is still relevant, meaningful, accurate, and acceptable. Given that many of the groups classified as racial and ethnic minorities have experienced institutionalized or State-sanctioned discrimination as well as social disadvantage and oppression, many consider it to be important to continue identifying the principal minority group in Federal data collections and reporting systems. However, it is not clear if the referent groups should change given changing demographics. 1. Should Hispanic or Latino be among the groups considered among ‘‘principal minorities’’? Would alternative terms be more salient (e.g., ‘‘principal minority race/ethnicity’’)? Hispanic or Latino usually is considered an ethnicity while ‘‘minority’’ is usually used when referencing race. The overall goal of the standards’ review is to ensure the quality of information that is used to inform Federal policy, without imposing undue burden on the public. Comments are requested on any aspect of the Working Group’s proposals. When evaluating the proposals, readers may wish to refer to the set of general principles used by Working Group members to govern its review (enumerated in Section 1 of the Working Group’s interim report)—a process that has attempted to balance statistical issues, data needs, and social concerns. We recognize these principles may in some cases represent competing goals for the standards. For example, having categories that are comprehensive in the coverage of our Nation’s diverse population (Principle 4) and that would facilitate selfidentification (Principle 2) may not be operationally feasible in terms of the burden that would be placed upon respondents and the public and private costs that would be associated with implementation (Principle 8). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:09 Feb 28, 2017 Jkt 241001 D. Conclusion This Notice affords a second opportunity for the public to comment on the interim progress of the Working Group. None of the proposals has been adopted and no interim decisions have been made concerning them. OMB can modify or reject any of the proposals, and OMB has the option of making no changes. The report and its proposals are published in this Notice because OMB believes that they are worthy of public discussion, and OMB’s decision will benefit from obtaining the public’s views on the recommendations. OMB plans to announce its decision in spring 2017 so that revisions, if any, can be reflected in preparations for the 2020 Census. Dominic J. Mancini, Acting Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. [FR Doc. 2017–03973 Filed 2–28–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P 12247 www.nitrd.gov/nitrdgroups/ index.php?title=Joint_Engineering_ Team_(JET). Public Comments: The government seeks individual input; attendees/ participants may provide individual advice only. Members of the public are welcome to submit their comments to jet-comments@nitrd.gov. Please note that under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), all public comments and/or presentations will be treated as public documents and will be made available to the public via the JET Web site. Submitted by the National Science Foundation in support of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) National Coordination Office (NCO) on February 23, 2017. Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation. [FR Doc. 2017–03935 Filed 2–28–17; 8:45 am] NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION BILLING CODE 7555–01–P Large Scale Networking (LSN)—Joint Engineering Team (JET) NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) National Coordination Office (NCO), National Science Foundation. ACTION: Notice of meetings. AGENCY: Dr. Grant Miller at miller@nitrd.gov or (703) 292–4873. DATES: The JET meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month (January 2017–December 2017, 12:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Please note that public seating for these meetings is limited and is available on a first-come, first served basis. WebEx and/or Teleconference participation is available for each meeting. Please reference the JET Web site for updates. Further information about the NITRD may be found at: http://www.nitrd.gov/. SUMMARY: The JET, established in 1997, provides for information sharing among Federal agencies and non-Federal participants with interest in high performance research networking and networking to support science applications. The JET reports to the Large Scale Networking (LSN) Interagency Working Group (IWG). The agendas, minutes, and other meeting materials and information can be found on the JET Web site at: https:// FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 Notice of Permits Issued Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 AGENCY: National Science Foundation. Notice of permits issued under the Antarctic Conservation of 1978, Public Law 95–541. ACTION: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is required to publish notice of permits issued under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978. This is the required notice. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nature McGinn, ACA Permit Officer, Office of Polar Programs, Rm. 755, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Or by email: ACApermits@nsf.gov. On December 27, 2016, the National Science Foundation published a notice in the Federal Register of a permit application received. The permit was issued on January 26, 2017 to: Daniel McGrath, Permit No. 2017–037. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Nadene G. Kennedy, Polar Coordination Specialist, Office of Polar Programs. [FR Doc. 2017–03933 Filed 2–28–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7555–01–P E:\FR\FM\01MRN1.SGM 01MRN1

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[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 39 (Wednesday, March 1, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12242-12247]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-03973]


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OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET


Proposals From the Federal Interagency Working Group for Revision 
of the Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal 
Data on Race and Ethnicity

AGENCY: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Executive Office 
of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: OMB requests comments on the proposals that it has received 
from the Federal Interagency Working Group for Research on Race and 
Ethnicity (Working Group) for revisions to OMB's Standards for 
Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and 
Ethnicity. The Working Group's report and proposals, which are 
presented here in brief and available on https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/related-omb-material and on http://www.regulations.gov in their entirety, are the result of a two-year, 
focused review of the implementation of the current standards. The 
Working Group's report reflects an examination of current practice, 
public comment received in response to the Federal Register Notice 
posted by OMB on September 30, 2016, and empirical analyses of publicly 
available data. The report also notes statutory needs and feasibility 
considerations, including cost and public burden. Initial proposals and 
specific questions to the public appear under the section Issues for 
Comment.
    None of the proposals has yet been adopted and no interim decisions 
have been made concerning them. The Working Group's report and its 
proposals are being published to solicit further input from the public. 
OMB plans to announce its decision in mid-2017 so that revisions, if 
any, can be reflected in preparations for the 2020 Census. OMB can 
modify or reject any of the proposals, and OMB has the option of making 
no changes. The report and its proposals are published in this Notice 
because OMB believes that they are worthy of public discussion, and 
OMB's decision will benefit from obtaining the public's views on the 
recommendations.

DATES: To ensure consideration during the final decision making 
process, comments must be provided in writing to OMB no later than 60 
days from the publication of this notice. Please be aware of delays in 
mail processing at

[[Page 12243]]

Federal facilities due to increased security. Respondents are 
encouraged to send comments electronically via email or via http://www.regulations.gov. See ADDRESSES below.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the recommendations may be addressed to 
the Office of the U.S. Chief Statistician, Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 9th Floor, 1800 G 
St. NW., Washington, DC 20503. You may also send comments or questions 
via email to Race-Ethnicity@omb.eop.gov or to http://www.regulations.gov, a Federal Web site that allows the public to 
public to find, review, and submit comments on documents that agencies 
have published in the Federal Register and that are open for comment. 
Simply type ``OMB-2016-0008'' in the Comment or Submission search box, 
click Go, and follow the instructions for submitting comments.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available 
to the public through relevant Web sites. For this reason, please do 
not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such 
as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. If you 
send an email comment, your email address will be automatically 
captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the 
public docket. Please note that responses to this public comment 
request containing any routine notice about the confidentiality of the 
communication will be treated as public comments that may be made 
available to the public notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine 
notice.
    Electronic Availability: This document is available on the Internet 
on the OMB Web site at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/related-omb-material and on http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Park, Senior Advisor to the 
U.S. Chief Statistician, 1800 G St., 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20503, 
email address: Race-Ethnicity@omb.eop.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

    To operate efficiently and effectively, the Nation relies on the 
flow of objective, credible statistics to support the decisions of 
individuals, households, governments, businesses, and other 
organizations. Any loss of trust in the accuracy, objectivity, or 
integrity of the Federal statistical system and its products causes 
uncertainty about the validity of measures the Nation uses to monitor 
and assess its performance, progress, and needs by undermining the 
public's confidence in the information released by the Government. A 
number of Federal legislative and executive actions, informed by 
national and international practice, have been put into place to 
maintain public confidence in Federal statistics.
    Accordingly, in its role as coordinator of the Federal statistical 
system under the Paperwork Reduction Act (https://www.reginfo.gov/public/reginfo/pra.pdf), OMB, among other responsibilities, is required 
to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the system as well as the 
integrity, objectivity, impartiality, utility, and confidentiality of 
information collected for statistical purposes. OMB is also charged 
with developing and overseeing the implementation of Government-wide 
principles, policies, standards, and guidelines concerning the 
development, presentation, and dissemination of statistical 
information.
    For example, Statistical Policy Directive No. 1: Fundamental 
Responsibilities of Federal Statistical Agencies and Recognized 
Statistical Units (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-02/pdf/2014-28326.pdf) provides a unified framework of Federal statistical 
agency responsibilities in the production of relevant, accurate, and 
objective statistical products while maintaining the trust of data 
providers and users. Statistical Policy Directive No. 2: Standards and 
Guidelines for Statistical Surveys and accompanying addenda (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/inforeg/statpolicy/standards_stat_surveys.pdf) provide overarching, technical standards 
and guidelines to be used by Federal agencies when preparing 
statistical products. OMB's established, independent process for 
preparing statistical policy directives includes Federal technical 
evaluation, public comment, and expert statistical analysis.
    The Federal Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting 
Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg_1997standards) are another such example of OMB standards 
developed using this established, independent process. These current 
standards were developed in cooperation with Federal agencies to 
provide consistent and comparable data on race and ethnicity throughout 
the Federal government for an array of statistical and administrative 
programs. Development of these Federal data standards stemmed in large 
measure from new responsibilities to enforce civil rights laws. Data 
were needed to monitor equal access to housing, education, employment 
opportunities, etc., for population groups that historically had 
experienced discrimination and differential treatment because of their 
race or ethnicity. The standards are used not only in the decennial 
census (which provides the ``denominator'' for many measures), but also 
in household surveys, on administrative forms (e.g., school 
registration and mortgage lending applications), and in medical and 
other research.
    In brief, the standards provide a minimum set of categories for 
data on race and ethnicity that Federal agencies must use if they 
intend to collect information on race and ethnicity. The standards do 
not prohibit Federal agencies from collecting more detailed race/
ethnicity data. Collection of more detailed information is encouraged 
by the standards, provided that any additional categories can be 
aggregated within the minimum standard set if necessary to facilitate 
comparison of data generated from information collections of varying 
detail. Self-identification is the preferred means of obtaining 
information about an individual's race and ethnicity, except in 
instances where observer identification is the only, or most feasible 
collection mode (e.g., completing a death certificate). Where self-
identification is practicable, individuals are encouraged to select as 
many categories as they deem to be appropriate in describing 
themselves. Specifically, the current standards state: ``Respect for 
individual dignity should guide the processes and methods for 
collecting data on race and ethnicity; ideally, respondent self-
identification should be facilitated to the greatest extent possible, 
recognizing that in some data collection systems observer 
identification is more practical.''
    The categories developed represent a socio-political construct 
designed to be used in the self-reported or observed collection of data 
on the race and ethnicity of major broad population groups in this 
country, and are not genetically-, anthropologically-, or 
scientifically-based. The categories in the standards do not identify 
or designate certain population groups as ``minority groups.'' As the 
standards explicitly state, these categories are not to be used for 
determining the eligibility of population groups for participation in 
any Federal programs.

B. Review Process

    To maintain the relevance and accuracy of Federal statistics, OMB, 
in its role coordinating the Federal

[[Page 12244]]

statistical system through the authority provided in the Paperwork 
Reduction Act, undertakes periodic reviews of its Federal statistical 
standards. Since the 1997 revision of Federal race/ethnicity standards, 
much has been learned about their implementation. Over this same time 
span, the U.S. population has continued to become more racially and 
ethnically diverse. In accordance with good statistical practice, 
several Federal agencies have conducted methodological research to 
better understand how use of the revised standards informs the quality 
of Federal statistics on race and ethnicity.
    In 2014, OMB formed the Working Group to exchange research 
findings, identify implementation issues, and collaborate on a shared 
research agenda to improve Federal data on race and ethnicity. The 
Working Group comprises representatives from ten Cabinet departments 
and three other agencies engaged in the collection or use of Federal 
race and ethnicity data.
    Through its systematic review of the implementation of the 1997 
revision and stakeholder feedback, the Working Group identified four 
particular areas where further revisions to the standards might improve 
the quality of race and ethnicity information collected and presented 
by Federal agencies. Specifically, these four areas were:
    1. The use of separate questions versus a combined question to 
measure race and ethnicity and question phrasing as a solution to race/
ethnicity question nonresponse;
    2. The classification of a Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) 
group and distinct reporting category;
    3. The description of the intended use of minimum reporting 
categories; and
    4. The salience of terminology used for race and ethnicity 
classifications and other language in the standard.
    Within the Working Group, Subgroups were formed to identify areas 
for possible revision; review public comments regarding areas 
identified; conduct empirical analyses of potential improvements; and 
consider statutory requirements and anticipated public burden and cost. 
The Subgroups were charged with preparing initial proposals for 
consideration by the Working Group as a whole, and, subsequently, by 
OMB. Each Subgroup was comprised of Federal statisticians and/or 
Federal policy analysts. Several agencies were represented in each 
Subgroup, and Subgroup co-chairs facilitated work processes. Each 
Subgroup prepared its analysis plan; these were simultaneously shared 
and discussed across the Working Group.
    On September 30, 2016, OMB issued a notice in the Federal Register 
(www.regulations.gov/document?D=OMB-2016-0002-0001) announcing its 
review and requesting public comment on the areas identified by the 
Working Group where revision to the current standards might improve the 
quality of Federal data on race and ethnicity. Specifically, comments 
were requested on: (1) The adequacy of the current standards in the 
areas identified for focused review; (2) specific suggestions for the 
identified areas that have been offered; and (3) principles that should 
govern any proposed revisions to the standards in the identified areas.
    After careful review of the 3,750 public comments received, as well 
as other stakeholder engagement; analysis of publicly available 
empirical data and cognitive testing results; and consideration of 
statutory needs, operational feasibility, cost and public burden; the 
Working Group developed an interim report and now seeks further public 
comment. The review process and findings are described in detail in the 
report (LINK). In some cases, initial proposals are also offered.

C. Issues for Comment

    With this notice, OMB requests comments on proposals presented in 
the interim report of the Federal Interagency Working Group for 
Research on Race and Ethnicity for revisions to OMB's Standards for 
Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and 
Ethnicity. These proposals and requests for further public comment 
appear in the final chapter of the Working Group's report (LINK) and 
are presented here for ease of reference. Note that these are issues 
presented by each separate Subgroup and do not necessarily represent a 
consensus of the entire Working Group as a whole. The Working Group 
will continue to deliberate and take into consideration comments 
received from the public before making final proposals for OMB's 
consideration.

1. Questionnaire Format and Nonresponse

    (a) Initial Plans: The Subgroup plans to continue its review of 
current Federal agency practices to determine whether or how a revised 
question format might improve the collection, tabulation, and utility 
of race/ethnicity statistics for Federal programs and policies. From 
this review, the Subgroup plans to prepare (initial) proposals for 
consideration.
    (b) Request for Public Comment: The Subgroup's review of current 
agency practices to collect and report data on race/ethnicity has 
identified challenges faced by some agencies with the implementation of 
the current standards. The Subgroup also identified challenges 
anticipated if the current standards were revised from a Separate 
Questions format to a Combined Question format. The public comments 
received to date also articulated both of these concerns, with the 
public generally noting that a Combined Question approach resonates 
with personal conceptions of race/ethnicity. (That is, most 
commentators thought there was no basis to distinguish between race and 
ethnicity.) However, concerns were also raised regarding the 
anticipated operational feasibility and cost for implementing this 
change, particularly among Federal commentators. Analyses to date 
suggested that collecting these data using a Combined Question may 
improve information quality for some respondents in some information 
collections. However, these results may apply most readily to self-
reported collections conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, whose data 
collection and data coding procedures differ from those used by other 
Federal agencies due to a Congressional requirement particular to 
Census (See H.R. 2562, 2005-2006). Further, the results do not seem to 
generalize easily to the collection of race/ethnicity through 
administrative records--a method on which many Federal agencies rely 
heavily. Administrative record data collections, which are used more 
routinely to generate Federal statistics, rely on complementary data 
collections by administrative units, which add to the complexity of 
making changes to the racial and ethnic classifications. In effect, 
each of the individual administrative units must implement the revised 
categories. In some cases, this implementation may be within systems 
relying on the same record systems, such in the cases of schools within 
a district or state. In other cases, changes to administrative record 
systems may require changing procedures for large numbers of individual 
institutions, businesses, or organizations. It is clear, however, that 
both the magnitude and scope of anticipated benefits and costs must be 
considered.
    Therefore, to assist in its deliberations, the Subgroup requests 
public comment on the following questions. Thinking about how 
information is collected:
    1. What factors should be considered when evaluating anticipated 
information quality? Should both

[[Page 12245]]

magnitude and scope (that is, the majority of collections) be 
considered? Should magnitude of the improved information outweigh the 
scope of the improved change, or vice versa? What amount of improvement 
would be considered meaningful? How should an improvement in data 
quality in some Federal data systems be balanced against decreased data 
quality in other systems?
    2. What factors should be considered when evaluating anticipated 
feasibility? Should burden to local, State, and Federal agencies be 
considered? What amount of cost spent to augment systems and labor 
hours used to implement changes would caution against implementing a 
change? How should potential lags in data delivery be weighed?
    3. What factors should be considered when evaluating anticipated 
cost of implementing a change? Should costs be weighed differently when 
experienced at a local, State, or Federal level? How should the costs 
of improving or failing to improve information quality be considered?
    4. When considering information quality, feasibility, and cost, how 
should benefits and costs be weighed? In which cases would information 
quality outweigh feasibility and cost concerns? In which cases would 
feasibility and cost concerns outweigh information quality?

2. Classification of Middle Eastern or North African Race/Ethnicity

    (a) Initial Proposal: The Subgroup proposes that a Middle Eastern 
or North African (MENA) classification be added to the standards. The 
classification for the Middle Eastern and North African population 
should be geographically based. The MENA classification should be 
defined as: ``A person having origins in any of the original peoples of 
the Middle East and North Africa. This includes, for example, Lebanese, 
Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, Israeli, Iraqi, Algerian, and 
Kurdish.'' \1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The rationale for using these examples is to include the two 
largest Middle Eastern Arab nationalities (Lebanese and Syrian), the 
two largest North African Arab nationalities (Egyptian and 
Moroccan), and the two largest non-Arab nationalities within the 
Middle Eastern/North African region (Iranian and Israeli) as the 
first six examples. This is followed by the next largest Middle 
Eastern Arab nationality (Iraqi), the next largest North African 
Arab nationality (Algerian); as well as an example of a 
transnational, non-Arab group (Kurdish).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Subgroup bases this initial recommendation on public comment 
and analyses to date. During the public comment process for the 1997 
standards, OMB received a number of requests to add an ethnic category 
for Arabs and Middle Easterners to the minimum collection standards. 
OMB heard those requests and encouraged further research on how to 
collect and improve data on the Arab and Middle Easterner population. 
Since that time, research has continued and, with the benefit of 
quantitative and qualitative information collections conducted by the 
Census Bureau as well as public comment and stakeholder engagement, the 
results have overwhelmingly supported the classification of a MENA 
category. (See Interim Report.)
    Last, findings from the Census Bureau's 2015 Forum on Ethnic Groups 
from the Middle East and North Africa (http://www.census.gov/library/working-papers/2015/demo/2015-MENA-Experts.html) and a review of public 
comments on Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; 2015 
National Content Test (12/2/2014) found that some experts and 
stakeholders believe that a classification of this population should be 
geographically based.
    (b) Request for Public Comment: However, some questions remain. 
Some of the groups proposed for inclusion under a MENA classification 
were also ethnoreligious groups. A challenge to ethnicity measurement 
can be the intersection of ethnicity with religious affiliation. The 
race/ethnicity standards are not intended to measure religion (see Pub. 
L. 94-521), and it is unclear how to address inclusion of 
ethnoreligious groups while clearly maintaining the intent and use of 
the resulting measure as not indicating religion. Further, although the 
great majority of public comments received on the measurement of MENA 
supported an additional, required minimum reporting category, the cost 
and burden of requiring this additional reporting category when race/
ethnicity is measured across the Federal government is unclear.
    1. If MENA were collected as a separate reporting category, 
assuming that separate race/ethnicity questions continue to be the 
standard, should MENA be considered an ethnicity or a race? [Note that, 
in either case, respondents still will be able to report more than 
one.]
    2. Beyond potentially establishing a specification of a MENA 
classification (i.e., a description of the national origins and 
populations that would be included as MENA), the IWG is also 
researching the potential establishment of MENA as a separate required 
minimum reporting category. Should the MENA category be a required 
minimum reporting category that is separate from the White minimum 
reporting category?
    3. Outreach conducted with the Israeli American Council and Jewish 
American organizations indicates that persons of Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, 
and Sephardi origin do not wish to be included in the MENA category, as 
these ethnicities directly identify persons as Jewish. Moreover, 
experts at the Census Bureau's 2015 Forum on Ethnic Groups from the 
Middle East and North Africa expressed that those who identify as 
Assyrian, Chaldean, Coptic, or Druze would like to be included in a 
MENA category. We ask for public comment regarding the following 
question: Which, if any, specific ethnoreligious groups should be 
included in a MENA classification?
    4. The Subgroup has also observed from initial feedback that the 
definition of MENA may be misunderstood to include only persons who are 
foreign born. Our intention is that a MENA category, should it be 
adopted, would include persons of MENA origins, regardless of country 
of birth. We are interested in receiving feedback as to how to best 
communicate this to respondents.
    5. What is the estimated cost and public burden associated with 
requiring an additional reporting category for MENA across Federal 
information collections? Given the estimated size of the MENA group, 
would a separate reporting category allow reporting of statistically 
reliable estimates? Would the size of the MENA group present 
confidentiality or privacy concerns? How should the anticipated 
improvement in information quality be weighed against anticipated 
feasibility and cost if the additional reporting category were 
encouraged? If it were required?

3. Additional Minimum Reporting Categories

    The initial review of the 1997 standards did not identify 
additional, minimum reporting categories for detailed race/ethnicity 
groups as an element for evaluation. However, during the public comment 
period for September 30, 2016's Federal Register Notice, the Working 
Group received more than 1,200 comments expressing the need for further 
disaggregated data for Asian communities and Native Hawaiian or Other 
Pacific Islander communities. Other comments express a similar need for 
disaggregated data, including 10 comments advocating for the 
disaggregation of the ``Black or African American'' category.
    (a) Initial Proposal: Based on public comment and Federal agency 
input

[[Page 12246]]

received to date, the Subgroup proposes that OMB issue specific 
guidelines for the collection of detailed data for American Indian or 
Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, 
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White groups for self-
reported race and ethnicity collections. By providing these guidelines, 
consistent collection of detailed race and ethnicity data will be 
supported across Federal agencies. Such direction would not be applied 
to the collection of observed race/ethnicity, since the accuracy at 
such a detailed level would be a concern in this form of reporting. 
Further, the Subgroup plans to consider under what other conditions 
detailed data should not be collected. However, the Subgroup plans to 
continue its deliberations as to whether OMB should require or, 
alternatively, strongly support but not require Federal agencies to 
collect detailed data.
    1. The Subgroup proposes that OMB issue specific guidelines for the 
collection of detailed race and ethnicity data for collections that are 
self-reported.
    (b) Request for Public Comment: The Subgroup requests public 
comments on the guidelines that should be provided for collecting 
detailed race and ethnicity data. Additionally, to evaluate whether or 
not the reporting of detailed categories should be required, or if such 
reporting should be strongly encouraged but not required, additional 
information is needed. The Subgroup recognizes that collecting detailed 
race and ethnicity data likely would impose a substantial cost on 
Federal agencies, State and local agencies, and private sector entities 
and burden on the public. Therefore, the Subgroup requests public 
comment on the consideration that should be given to evaluate the value 
of improved information quality taking into account anticipated cost 
and public burden. Specifically, the Subgroup seeks public comment on 
the following questions:
    1. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed 
American Indian or Alaska Native race and ethnicity data, should OMB 
adopt the 2015 National Content Test (NCT) method, which includes 
separately Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village 
or Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government, and Nome Eskimo Community? If 
not, how should OMB select the detailed race and ethnicity categories?
    2. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed 
Asian race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the 2010 Decennial 
Census and NCT format, which includes separately Chinese, Filipino, 
Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and an ``other Asian'' 
category? \2\ If not, how should OMB select the detailed Asian race and 
ethnicity categories?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The checkboxes used in Census 2010 were Asian Indian, 
Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Other Asian 
with five additional examples of Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, 
and Cambodian.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    3. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed 
Black or African American race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the 
NCT format, which includes separately African American, Jamaican, 
Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Somali? If not, how should OMB select 
the detailed race and ethnicity categories?
    4. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed 
Hispanic or Latino race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the NCT 
format, which includes separately Mexican or Mexican American, Puerto 
Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, and Colombian? If not, how should 
OMB select the detailed race and ethnicity categories?
    5. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed 
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders race and ethnicity data, 
should OMB adopt the 2010 Decennial Census format, which includes 
separately Native Hawaiian, Chamorro,\3\ Samoan, and an ``other Pacific 
Islander'' category? Should it use the NCT format, which includes 
separately Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, and 
Marshallese? If neither of these, how should OMB select the detailed 
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander race and ethnicity 
categories?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ In the 1997 standards, the actual OMB standards used the 
term Guam, not Guamanian. Census 2010 featured the following 
checkboxes: Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan; and 
provided the following examples listed for other NHPI: Fijian and 
Tongan. Since Census 2010, based on feedback received by members of 
the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander community, Census no 
longer includes the term Guamanian in its collections.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    6. If issuing specific guidelines for the collection of detailed 
White race and ethnicity data, should OMB adopt the NCT format, which 
includes separately German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, and 
French? \4\ If not, how should OMB select the detailed race and 
ethnicity categories?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ These are the examples used when MENA was included in NCT 
questionnaires. When MENA was not included in NCT questionnaires, 
the examples are as follows: German, Irish, English, Italian, 
Lebanese, and Egyptian.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    7. What burden and cost would a Federal requirement to collect 
detailed race and ethnicity data place on Federal agencies, State and 
local agencies, private sector entities and the public? How should this 
burden and cost be weighed against any anticipated improvement in 
information quality?
    8. Should Federal agencies be required to collect detailed race and 
ethnicity data even when such data could not be responsibly reported 
due to statistical reliability and confidentiality concerns? If so, in 
which cases? What factors should be considered?
    9. If OMB were to strongly encourage, but not require, collection 
of detailed race and ethnicity data by Federal agencies, how likely are 
Federal agencies to adopt collection of detailed race and ethnicity 
data?
    10. If OMB were to strongly encourage, but not require, collection 
of detailed race and ethnicity data by Federal agencies, what criteria 
should be used to encourage and evaluate conformance with such 
guidance?

4. Relevance of Terminology

    (a) Initial Proposals:
    1. The Subgroup proposes no changes be made to the current 
standards to specifically incorporate the following geographic 
locations into any existing race or ethnicity category: Australian 
(including the original people of Australia/the Aborigines), Brazilian, 
Cape Verdean, New Zealander, and Papua New Guinean. This proposal takes 
into account the low prevalence of these geographic locations appearing 
as write-in responses according to the research presented above.
    2. Based on its analyses to date, the Subgroup proposes more 
research and public input be conducted to enable a more complete 
consideration of adding more specific South or Central American 
subgroups to the current description of the American Indian or Alaska 
Native (AIAN) category in order to improve identification with the 
reporting category.
    3. The Subgroup proposes that the duplicate initial mention of 
``Cuban'' be deleted in the definition of ``Hispanic or Latino'' so 
that the listing is presented according to population size. The 
Subgroup also considered whether the current ordering of the 
classification listing should be updated to reflect current population 
size. As a next step, the Subgroup plans to apply this rationale to the 
classification listing and determine the magnitude and benefit of any 
resulting changes. The results of this analysis are intended to be 
shared with the public.
    4. The Subgroup proposes that the term ``Negro'' be removed from 
the standards. Further, the Subgroup recommends that the term ``Far 
East'' be removed from the current standards.

[[Page 12247]]

    5. The Subgroup also proposes that OMB provide guidance to Federal 
agencies that race/ethnicity coding procedures be documented and made 
publicly available, as this would allow greater transparency and 
promote further consistency in Federal data collections.
    6. The Subgroup proposes further clarifying the standards to 
indicate the classification is not intended to be genetically based, 
nor based on skin color. Rather, the goal of standards is to provide 
guidelines for the Federal measurement of race/ethnicity as a social 
construct and therefore inform public policy decisions.
    (b) Request for Public Comment: The Subgroup also considered 
whether referring to Black or African American as the ``principal 
minority race'' is still relevant, meaningful, accurate, and 
acceptable. Given that many of the groups classified as racial and 
ethnic minorities have experienced institutionalized or State-
sanctioned discrimination as well as social disadvantage and 
oppression, many consider it to be important to continue identifying 
the principal minority group in Federal data collections and reporting 
systems. However, it is not clear if the referent groups should change 
given changing demographics.
    1. Should Hispanic or Latino be among the groups considered among 
``principal minorities''? Would alternative terms be more salient 
(e.g., ``principal minority race/ethnicity'')? Hispanic or Latino 
usually is considered an ethnicity while ``minority'' is usually used 
when referencing race.
    The overall goal of the standards' review is to ensure the quality 
of information that is used to inform Federal policy, without imposing 
undue burden on the public. Comments are requested on any aspect of the 
Working Group's proposals. When evaluating the proposals, readers may 
wish to refer to the set of general principles used by Working Group 
members to govern its review (enumerated in Section 1 of the Working 
Group's interim report)--a process that has attempted to balance 
statistical issues, data needs, and social concerns. We recognize these 
principles may in some cases represent competing goals for the 
standards. For example, having categories that are comprehensive in the 
coverage of our Nation's diverse population (Principle 4) and that 
would facilitate self-identification (Principle 2) may not be 
operationally feasible in terms of the burden that would be placed upon 
respondents and the public and private costs that would be associated 
with implementation (Principle 8).

D. Conclusion

    This Notice affords a second opportunity for the public to comment 
on the interim progress of the Working Group. None of the proposals has 
been adopted and no interim decisions have been made concerning them. 
OMB can modify or reject any of the proposals, and OMB has the option 
of making no changes. The report and its proposals are published in 
this Notice because OMB believes that they are worthy of public 
discussion, and OMB's decision will benefit from obtaining the public's 
views on the recommendations. OMB plans to announce its decision in 
spring 2017 so that revisions, if any, can be reflected in preparations 
for the 2020 Census.

Dominic J. Mancini,
Acting Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2017-03973 Filed 2-28-17; 8:45 am]
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