San Francisco Recommended Standard

Description of Standard

The purpose of this data standard is to support the consistent collection, maintenance and reporting of data on race and ethnicity across Departments. Consistent race and ethnicity data will:

  • Improve our ability to track and compare differences across City services and programs
  • Help inform policy and procedural changes to reduce disparities across City services and programs

The categories in this standard come from the Census 2015 National Content Test and like the Census are not genetically, anthropologically, or scientifically based. Instead the categories represent a socio-political construct. The Census 2015 National Content Test consisted of a sample of 1.2 million households making it the largest and most thorough testing and validation of detailed racial and ethnic categories. This standard relies heavily on this research as well extensive testing done by the OMB Tabulation Working Group for the 1997 race/ethnicity standard.

Standard or Guideline

Collection Protocol

  1. Self-identification preferred. Respect for individual dignity should guide the processes and methods for collecting data on race and ethnicity. Use self-identification when feasible and practical. If self-identification is not feasible or practical at the point of collection, departments should provide a later opportunity for individuals to self-identify.
    1. Exception. When collecting data for purposes of understanding bias in perceptions, use perceived race and ethnicity. For example, data collection on stops must use perceived race and ethnicity.
  2. Multiple selections must be allowed. Respondents or data collectors must be allowed to select more than one response.
  3. Refusal to answer. If the respondent does not answer the race/ethnicity question, the interviewer may repeat the question and response options. If the respondent fails to respond to the question, the interviewer may infer a response (based upon observation or information provided by another source).
  4. Training. If staff will be collecting data verbally per this standard, Departments should develop and implement standard training.

Question Format

Below are formats you should use when collecting race and ethnicity data. The formats below address:

  • Ability to collect multiple values. Not all systems are able to collect multiple selections for a single field value. Use the formats as follows:
    • Format A. Use this format if your system allows for the selection of multiple values. Most modern systems should be able to accommodate this.
    • Format B. Use this format if your system is unable to select multiple values.
  • Option to collect detailed data. Under each format option or via subsequent questions, you can collect additional details on subgroups. Each detailed option must roll up into a one of the 7 standard groups (1). See Appendix C for suggested options.

(1) Refer to 2015 National Content Test Race and Ethnicity Analysis Report. February 28, 2017. Matthews, Kelly et all. Pages 200-282 for roll up guidance

Format A. Multi-Select

Field name (1) Race and ethnicity
Question prompt (2)
  • Paper data collection: Mark all that apply
  • Electronic data collection: Select all that apply
    Options and order (3)
    • White
    • Asian
    • Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish
    • Black or African American
    • Middle Eastern or Northern African
    • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
    • American Indian or Alaska Native
      Format Multi-select checkbox. See Appendix B for examples.

      (1-2) This terminology was tested in the Census 2015 National Content Test.

      (3) Order based on population of San Francisco MSA.

      Format B: Single Select

      If you cannot use a multi-select option, this format consists of the same field collected at least twice as follows.

      Field name Race and ethnicity 1
      Question prompt
      • Paper data collection: Mark which one that applies
      • Electronic data collection: Select which one that applies
        Options and order
        • White
        • Asian
        • Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish
        • Black or African American
        • Middle Eastern or Northern African
        • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
        • American Indian or Alaska Native
          Format Radio button. See Appendix B for examples.
          Field name Race and ethnicity 2
          Question prompt If applicable, mark an additional race/ethnicity
          • Paper data collection: Mark which one that applies
          • Electronic data collection: Select which one that applies
            Options and order
            • White
            • Asian
            • Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish
            • Black or African American
            • Middle Eastern or Northern African
            • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
            • American Indian or Alaska Native
              Format Radio button. See Appendix B for examples.

              Reporting

              At a minimum, you should calculate the following estimates when reporting on race and ethnicity data.

              • Each race and ethnicity alone. This table will provide a Census compatible table that sums to 100%. To create this table, report the following groups:
                • White alone
                • Asian alone
                • Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish alone
                • Black or African American alone
                • American Indian or Alaska Native alone
                • Middle Eastern or Northern African alone
                • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander alone
                • Two or more races
              • Each race and ethnicity plus some other race. This table will sum to more than 100%. To create this table, report the following groups:
                • White plus any other race and ethnicity
                • Asian plus any other race and ethnicity
                • Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish plus any other race and ethnicity
                • Black or African American plus any other race and ethnicity
                • American Indian or Alaska Native plus any other race and ethnicity
                • Middle Eastern or Northern African plus any other race and ethnicity
                • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander plus any other race and ethnicity

              Mapping and Transformations

              You may need to map your race and ethnicity data for the purposes of matching how this data is reported by other jurisdictions, surveys or even historical data your department may have collected. When doing mapping and transformations, you will have to address three core issues:

              1. Mapping to a standard that does not allow for multi-select
              2. Mapping to a standard that used two separate questions for race and ethnicity
              3. Mapping to a standard that uses different groups or categories

              The rules below break out by case depending on the destination system or standard. The mapping tables provide detailed specifications on how to meet these. Appendix F provides more background on these rules. Appendix A provides details on how to do this mapping.

              Case 1. Mapping to a combined question format with multi-select options

              In Case 1, the only issue that would come up would be different categories. The most common differences should be mapped as follows. If you come across additional ones, feel free to reach out to us for guidance.

              1. Middle Eastern or North African missing. Map to White as per Census designation.(1)
              2. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander missing. Map to Asian. (2)
              3. Any other missing categories missing. Use ‘Other’ or ‘Some Other Race’ or ‘Unknown’ when available.

              (1) 2015 National Content Test Race and Ethnicity Analysis Report. February 28, 2017. Matthews, Kelly et al. Pages 200-282.

              (2) Tabulation Working Group. December 15, 2000. Provisional Guidance on the Implementation of the 1997 Standards for Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity Ch. 5 Section B.1 p 88.

              Case 2. Mapping to a combined question format with single-select option

              Our standard allows for multi-selection. If you have to report to an external system that only allows one value, use the following rules for records with multiple selections. Appendix A provides details on how to do this mapping:

              1. Missing categories. Refer to Case 1 rules if your categories do not match.
              2. More than 1 selected, “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish” selected. If one of the values is Hispanic, report the respondent as Hispanic regardless of what other selections are made. For example, if someone selects Hispanic and Asian, you would map them to Hispanic.
                1. If the destination standard does not have Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish as an option use the other response to report it.
              3. More than 1 selected, “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish” NOT selected. Apply “Largest Group other than White” rule. Map the respondent to the largest of the group as represented in the San Francisco Bay Area general population unless that race is White. For example, if someone selects White and Asian, report them as Asian.The order from largest to smallest is determined using population estimates for race and ethnic groups (when available) for the San Francisco Metropolitan Statistical Area (see Appendix D):
                1. White
                2. Asian
                3. Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish
                4. Black or African American
                5. Middle Eastern or North African
                6. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
                7. American Indian or Alaska Native
              4. Exceptions to 2 and 3. If an option for multi-race exists, map multi-selections to that option.

              Case 3. Mapping to a separate question format with multi-select option

              Some external standards will separate race and ethnicity into two separate fields, with ethnicity designated for Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish, and still allow for multiple selections under the race field. Use the following rules in this case.

              1. Missing categories. Refer to Case 1 rules if your categories do not match.
              2. “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish” selected. Record ethnicity as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish or equivalent and:
                1. If other race/ethnicities selected, record under race
                2. If no other selected, record as Unknown or Other
              3. More than 1 selected, “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish” NOT selected. Record each selection in the destination standard using the Case 1 rules as needed.

              Case 4. Mapping to a separate question format with single-select option

              Like Case 3, race and ethnicity are two separate fields, with ethnicity designated for Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish. However, you may only select one option under the race field. Use the following rules in this case. Appendix A provides details on how to do this mapping.

              1. Missing categories. Refer to Case 1 rules if your categories do not match.
              2. “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish” selected. Record ethnicity as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish or equivalent and:
                1. If another race/ethnicity selected, record that under race. If more than 1 additional race/ethnicity selected, use rule 3 below.
                2. If no other selected, record as Unknown or Other
              3. More than 1 selected, Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish NOT selected. Apply “Largest Group other than White” rule. Map the respondent to the largest of the group as represented in the San Francisco Bay Area general population unless that race is White. For example, if someone selects White and Asian, report them as Asian.The order from largest to smallest is determined using population estimates for the race alone values (when available) for the San Francisco Metropolitan Statistical Area (see Appendix D):
                1. White
                2. Asian
                3. Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish
                4. Black or African American
                5. Middle Eastern or North African
                6. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
                7. American Indian or Alaska Native
              4. Exception to 3. If an option for multi-race exists, map multi-selections to that option.

              Definitions

              Race and ethnicity data collections should include the following minimum categories and definitions.(1)

              (1) Definitions from Census 2015 National Content Test.

              Category Definition
              American Indian or Alaska Native The category “American Indian or Alaska Native” includes all individuals who identify with any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. It includes people who identify as “American Indian” or “Alaska Native” and includes groups such as Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community, etc.
              Asian The category “Asian” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese. The category also includes groups such as Pakistani, Cambodian, Hmong, Thai, Bengali, Mien, etc.
              Black or African American The category “Black or African American” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Somali. The category also includes groups such as Ghanaian, South African, Barbadian, Kenyan, Liberian, Bahamian, etc.
              Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish The category “Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South American, and other Spanish cultures. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, Mexican or Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, and Colombian. The category also includes groups such as Guatemalan, Honduran, Spaniard, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Venezuelan, etc.
              Middle Eastern or Northern African The category “Middle Eastern or North African” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in the Middle East or North Africa. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, and Algerian. The category also includes groups such as Israeli, Iraqi, Tunisian, Chaldean, Assyrian, Kurdish, etc.
              Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander The category “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, and Marshallese. The category also includes groups such as Palauan, Tahitian, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, Saipanese, Yapese, etc.
              White The category “White” includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Europe. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, and French. The category also includes groups such as Scottish, Norwegian, Dutch, Slavic, Cajun, Roma, etc.

              Who must comply

              Departments should comply with this standard unless they face conflicting requirements. Note that external reporting fields are not requirements. Your data can be transformed to meet external reporting fields if they are different from this standard. Review the section on transformations and mapping.

              Authority

              San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 22D: Open Data Policy Section 22D.2(b)(7).

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