The White House has released recommendations from the Equitable Data Working Group that aim to increase data available for measuring equity and represent the diversity of all Americans.

The working group was formed to align with President Biden’s executive order on advancing racial equity and underserved communities. The group is chaired by Alondra Nelson, from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Margo Schwab, from the Office of Management and Budget.

The working group met with “a range of advocates and experts from civil society, including academic researchers and community leaders who leverage Federal data, Federal department and agency leads for data, statistics, privacy, and program evaluations, and our colleagues leading related equity efforts,” the White House said. It also leveraged case studies to examine what progress could be made using existing program data.

“These stakeholders and officials identified three priority uses for equitable data: generating disaggregated statistical estimates to characterize experiences of historically underserved groups using survey data; increasing non-Federal research and community access to disaggregated data for the evidence-building that supports equity efforts; and conducting robust equity assessments of Federal programs to identify areas for improvement,” the White House said in a press release.

The group outlined five specific recommendations, including:

  • Make disaggregated data the norm while protecting privacy;
  • Catalyze existing Federal infrastructure to leverage underused data;
  • Build capacity for robust equity assessment for policymaking and program implementation;
  • Galvanize diverse partnerships across levels of government and the research community; and
  • Be accountable to the American public.

The White House said the recommendations “are designed to establish the foundation for a holistic Federal strategy toward equitable data, in which all actors are intentional about when and how they promote disaggregated demographic data across the full data lifecycle – including the collection, protection, management, analysis, dissemination, use, and destruction of the data.”

The working group’s complete report can be found here.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.