Arab Americans hope to be counted as feds revise data collection rules

Arab Americans hope to be counted as feds revise data collection rules
  • The country’s estimated 3.7 million Arab Americans were unable to identify themselves as such on census and other official forms.
  • Among the challenges posed by the situation is the lack of health data which, for example, has obscured the effects of the COVID pandemic on the community despite its many risk factors.
  • Earlier this year, the US Agency for International Development became the first federal agency to put a Middle East/North Africa category into practice, including it as part of its internal employee survey.

Many Middle Eastern and North African Americans hope they will finally be recognized by the federal government, including in the US census, after years of their community being largely ignored in official data.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget is working to overhaul how agencies collect data on Americans, a move that many believe could result in the creation of a new category for people of middle- East or North African. Arab Americans have long fought to persuade government officials to adopt the racial category, called MENA, as part of standard practice.

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