Black, White, and Shades of Grey (and Brown and Yellow)

Margo Anderson and Stephen E. Fienberg


The Statistical Policy Office in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget is currently reassessing the contents of OMB Statistical Directive 15, which defines the racial and ethnic classifications to be used in connection with all administrative and statistical data collection. Any revision of these standards has important consequences both for how we as a nation view and how we govern ourselves. The brief paper provides some background, context, and advice for the current review of, and possible revisions to, statistical Directive 15, and was prepared to accompany a paper describing the current OMB review (see, Evinger, 1995). Keywords: Census; Multiple classifications; OMB Statistical Directive 15; Race and ethnic classification.

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