Performance of the US Office of Management and Budget's revised race and ethnicity categories in Asian populations

Joan L. Holup, Nancy Press, William M. Vollmer, Emily L. Harris, Thomas M. Vogt, Chuhe Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines for collecting and reporting race and ethnicity information recently divided the "Asian or Pacific Islander" category into "Asian" and "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander." The OMB's decision to disaggregate the "Asian or Pacific Islander" category was the first step toward providing these communities with information to better serve their needs. However, whether individuals who formerly made up the combined group categorize themselves as the new guidelines intend is a question analyzed in this report. A subset of adults participating in the Hemochromatosis and Iron Overload Screening Study completed both the OMB-minimum and the expanded race and ethnicity measure used in the National Health Interview Survey. We compared responses on the expanded measure contained within the OMB "Asian" definition (Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Asian Indian, Chinese, and/or Other Asian) to "Asian" responses on the OMB-minimum measure. Mixed heritage Asians less often marked "Asian." Among mixed heritage Japanese, Chinese, and Filipinos, 27%, 49%, and 52% did not mark "Asian" on the OMB measure, respectively. Eleven percent of single-heritage Filipinos did not mark "Asian." Many individuals formerly making up the combined "Asian or Pacific Islander" group do not categorize themselves as the revised OMB guidelines intend. This is particularly evident among Filipinos and among Asians of mixed heritage. This research illuminates the reliability and utility of the broad "Asian" category and points to possible consequences of collapsing groups into a single category, i.e., missed information and/or erroneous generalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-573
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Asian
  • Ethnic identity
  • Ethnicity
  • Measurement
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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