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Description of Racial and Ethnic Categories

The following descriptions are provided to school nutrition program sponsors for distribution to staff and households as appropriate.

This revises Management Bulletin 01-902 (September 2001; available in hard copy). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) established five racial category standards and one ethnic category standard to provide a common language for uniformity and comparability in the collection and use of data on race and ethnicity. All participating sponsors of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are required to collect ethnic/racial data each year by race/ethnic category for each site under the sponsor's jurisdiction.

Racial Categories

American Indian or Alaska Native - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Black or African American A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as "Haitian" or "Negro" can be used in addition to "Black or African American."

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

White - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Ethnic Category

Hispanic or Latino - A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The term, "Spanish origin," can be used in addition to "Hispanic or Latino."

Not Hispanic or Latino

Race and Ethnic Categories Two Question Format

The two-question format provides flexibility and ensures data quality. The separate categories shall be used when collecting and reporting race and ethnicity when information is collected through self-identification, such as household meal applications.

Example:

Racial and Ethnic Identity (Optional)

  1. Choose one or more Racial Identities (regardless of ethnicity):
    • White
    • Asian
    • Black or African American
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
    • American Indian or Alaska Native
  2. Choose one Ethnic Identity:
    • Hispanic/Latino
    • Not Hispanic/Latino
Questions: Shirley Rhodes | srhodes@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-8521 
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