On April 22, the Equitable Data Working Group (EDWG) released a report on advancing the use of equitable data in the federal government. Established in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, EDWG was charged with studying existing federal data collection policies, programs, and infrastructure to identify inadequacies and providing recommendations to increase the availability of data measuring equity and representing the diversity of the American people.

During their deliberations, the working group consulted several outside organizations. In October 2022, PAA President Robert Hummer and APC President Sara Curran presented remarks and recommendations to the working group.

The report’s recommendations fall under five major categories: 1) calling for making disaggregated data the norm; 2) catalyzing existing federal government infrastructure to leverage underused data; 3) building capacity for robust equity assessment for policymaking and program implementation; 4) galvanizing diverse partnerships across government and the research community; and, 5) making federal data more accessible and user friendly.

Within these categories, the report makes several specific recommendations, including:

• Revising the White House Office of Management and Budget standards (Statistical Policy Directive 15) for collecting, maintaining, and presenting federal data on race and ethnicity;

• Encouraging federal statistical agencies to “explore creating multi-year datasets for national surveys that will allow publishing estimates for small populations”;

• Supporting grant programs to support “a diverse range of scholars, including those at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs)” to conduct their own equity analyses. The report identified the National Science Foundation’s new Growing Research Access for Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) initiative as a relevant example of an existing program that could be enhanced to further this objective.

In addition, the report reiterates several proposals in President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget that dovetail with the report’s objectives and recommendations. These include a proposal to add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. In addition, the report amplifies the Administration’s request to provide the National Center for Health Statistics with funding to increase the sample size of the National Health Interview Survey to allow disaggregated estimates and analyses of health care access, chronic health conditions (including long COVID-19), and mental health status disaggregated by and across race and ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The report states that the Administration looks forward “to continuing the work of the Equitable Data Working Group to implement these recommendations, develop further thinking on these important issues, and engage with the broader community of advocates, scholars, and scientists to advance a long-term vision for equity, data, and policymaking.”

PAA looks forward to continuing its work with the EDWG to promote the report and discuss how the stakeholder community can play role in the next phase of deliberations.

The full report is posted at: A Vision for Equitable Data: Recommendations from the Equitable Data Working Group (whitehouse.gov)

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