Giving Compass' Take:

• Austin Clemens and Michael Garvey detail the need for data to be disaggregated by race and ethnicity and offer ways to accomplish this.  

• What role can you play in improving data? 

• Read about the importance of data analytics in the COVID-19 era

Discrepancies in economic outcomes by race and ethnicity have long been known, but the coronavirus recession is putting a spotlight on the unique ways that the U.S. economy fails these groups amid economic downturns often further marked by racial repression. Alas, this spotlight is not matched by the collection of widely disaggregated data by race and ethnicity by federal government statistical agencies. And, as a result of attention garnered by the ongoing police killings of Black Americans, more data are likely to be demanded on issues of systemic racism in our society, just as the coronavirus recession is sparking new data-gathering demands.

This issue brief details the steps Congress and executive branch agencies can take to improve our understanding of economic and social outcomes for all communities of color. There are many ways the economic statistical agencies could improve data collection, provide more analysis of racial economic divides, and alter the presentation and publication of statistics to better inform policymakers on the needs of marginalized communities.

The enduring legacy of structural racism in the United States is not news to the multihued communities of color across our nation. And in these Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, it comes as little surprise that many of these communities are suffering and dying more from the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, or that many also are bearing the greater brunt of the job losses and income declines amid the coronavirus recession. This issue brief focuses on three concrete policy actions that could be taken now with a focus on oversampling in existing federal surveys:

  • Provide funding for the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to perform an oversample of Black, Latinx, Native American, and AANHPI populations, and to provide cash incentives to respondents if necessary, in the monthly Current Population Survey and the Annual Social Economic Supplement
  • Request that the Federal Reserve consider oversampling Black, Latinx, Native American, and AANHPI populations in its Survey of Consumer Finances
  • Direct the Government Accountability Office to study the feasibility, desirability, and cost of instituting oversamples for these groups in other surveys conducted by federal statistical agencies

Read the full article about the need for better data by Austin Clemens and Michael Garvey at Washington Center for Equitable Growth.