No Middle Eastern Or North African Category On 2020 Census, Bureau Says

There's been a decades-long push for the U.S. Census Bureau to collect more detailed data on people with roots in the Middle East or North Africa, also known as MENA. Advocates of that campaign hit another roadblock Friday, when the Census Bureau announced it is not planning to add a MENA category to the 2020 census.

"We do feel that more research and testing is needed," Karen Battle, chief of the bureau's population division, explained Friday at a public meeting on 2020 census preparations.

Researchers at the bureau have been looking into how to better collect race and ethnicity information from census participants of Middle Eastern or North African descent. In a report released last year, they concluded that "it is optimal to use a dedicated 'Middle Eastern or North African' response category" on the 2020 census questionnaires.

Read more by Hansi Lo Wang at NPR

Sonia Smith-Kang