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Figure 6-1. Recommended variables for standardized collection of race, ethnicity, and language need (Text Description)

Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data: Standardization for Health Care Quality Improvement

Race and Ethnicity

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Hispanic Ethnicitya

  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Not Hispanic or Latino

OMB Race (Select one or more)

  • Black or African American
  • White
  • Asian
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • Some other raceb

Granular Ethnicity

  • Locally relevant choices from a national standard list of approximately 540 categories with CDC/HL7 codesc
  • "Other, please specify:___" response option
  • Rollup to the OMB categories

Language Need

Spoken English Language Proficiencyd

  • Very well
  • Well
  • Not well
  • Not at all

(Limited English proficiency is defined as "less than very well")

Spoken Language Preferred for Health Care

  • Locally relevant choices from a national standard list of approximately 600 categories with coding to be determined
  • "Other, please specify:___" response option
  • Inclusion of sign language in spoken language need list and Braille when written language is elicited

Note: Additional categories for Health Information Techology tracking might include whether respondents have not yet responded (unavailable), refuse to answer (declined), or do not know (unknown), as well as whether responses are self-reported or observer-reported.

a The preferred order of questioning is Hispanic ethnicity first, followed by race, as OMB recommends, and then granular ethnicity.
b The U.S. Census Bureau received OMB permission to add "Some other race" to the standard OMB categories in Census 2000 and subsequent Census collections.
c Additional codes will be needed for categories added to the CDC/HL7 list.
d Need is determined on the basis of two questions, with asking about proficiency first. Limited English proficiency is defined for health care purposes as speaking English less than very well.

Sources: CDC, 2000; Office of Management and Budget, 1997b; Shin and Bruno, 2003; U.S. Census Bureau, 2002.


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Current as of March 2010
Internet Citation: Figure 6-1. Recommended variables for standardized collection of race, ethnicity, and language need (Text Description): Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data: Standardization for Health Care Quality Improvement . March 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/final-reports/iomracereport/reldatafig61txt.html