How Can Standardized Data Collection Promote Statewide Equity?

Consistent and reliable equity metrics are crucial for understanding and addressing disparities. That’s why states need comprehensive data standards in place for collecting and analyzing information on characteristics like race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and disability status.

In response to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022 Executive Order directing state agencies and departments to embed equity analysis into policies and practices, Possibility Lab researchers are working to develop and test an evidence-based framework to measure and evaluate equity across California.

In partnership with California’s Office of Data and Innovation (ODI), the project aims to support the development of data-informed recommendations for comprehensive measurement standards. These standards will help the state identify equity gaps, assess its progress closing these gaps, and ensure it is making meaningful strides toward achieving equity statewide.

In Spring 2023, Possibility Lab researchers performed an initial landscape analysis to understand existing research around data standards on race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and disability status. We spoke with nearly 20 experts in the field to better understand next practices and evolving norms in each of these respective areas. In collaboration with the IGS Poll, we also conducted a survey experiment to test how different ways of asking about identity elicit different responses. Based on this research, we made initial recommendations to ODI about data standards related to collection and measurement. 

In the coming year, the ODI and Possibility Lab team will continue to develop, test, and scale best practices related to race/ethnicity, SOGI, and disability data, including eliciting input directly from these communities, with the goal of making additional recommendations for statewide data collection and measurement. Ultimately, this will help enable increased data-driven, community-informed decision-making, and add an equity lens to state activities and initiatives as a whole.

This project was made possible with funding from the California Community Foundation through the California 100 Initiative.


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Setting Statewide Standards to Advance Equity

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