SEATTLE – The City launched an effort today to better identify individual ethnic populations in Seattle to accurately understand their demographic makeup to allocate resources accordingly.
Governments use demographic data, including the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey, to allocate resources and set policy, however, disparate ethnic groups are often bundled into broad categories which can result in skewed data. Currently, for instance, 25 countries represent the “Asian American and Pacific Islander” (AAPI) category in the City’s data collection process, however, there are many differences among the unique groups within the AAPI classification as it relates to educational attainment, income, and health. At the State level, only 13% of Asian American adults lack a high school diploma, but disaggregated data finds that over 30% of Cambodian and Vietnamese adults lack a high school diploma.
The resolution signed today by Mayor Murray establishes a task force to recommend improvements to the City’s data collection process, including standardized data collection among all City departments and utilizing disaggregated data.
“Based on the way data is collected, certain populations in our city are invisible and are often overlooked when it comes to important resource allocation and service delivery,” said Councilmember John Okamoto, co-sponsor of the resolution. “Seattle will be one of the first cities in the nation to undertake this data disaggregation effort, if not the first, and I’d like to thank engaged community members for bringing this issue to my attention.”
“Seattle must be a more equitable City. We can achieve that by breaking down the generalizations that have underrepresented our communities of color and immigrants,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “More accurate and specific data will help the City deliver better services and improve outcomes for our residents. I applaud Councilmember Okamoto for his leadership on this issue
“I understand the broad strokes we sometimes place on our ethnic communities,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. This work takes an inclusive analysis in refining the data to help us do a better job of providing services and resources where they are needed. It is time we look at specific demographic information to help us achieve targeted solutions.”
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