The Arab American Civic Council welcomed the California State Assembly’s adoption of House Resolution 30 (HR30) relative to Middle Eastern North African (MENA) data. The resolution was introduced by Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-63).
The resolution urges the Office of Management and Budget to include MENA as a response option across all federal information collection activities and encourages residents to make public comments in support of the proposed revision to SPD 15.
The federal government does not currently collect or produce data on the race and ethnicity of Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) populations and has not updated its standards for data collection on race and ethnicity since 1997. The exclusion of our community has resulted in a significant undercount of the Arab population.The American Community Survey estimates the Arab population in the country at around 1.7 million people, but the Arab American Institute believes this number is closer to 3.5 million people indicating a significant undercount of the MENA population. Federal agencies currently advise their research and grant procurement offices to report MENA individuals as White, leading to the systemic disadvantagement of our community in the areas of healthcare, education, access to social services, and community investment.
Earlier this year, the Arab American Civic Council joined the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) in the #CountMENAIn campaign advocating to the OMB to count Arab Americans. Collectively, more than 13,000 public comments were submitted in support of adding a ‘MENA’ category.