Collecting Racial, Ethnic, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity Data in Surveys

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) affirms the importance of collecting accurate information and data on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity in health and demographic surveys. These include surveys conducted by the United States Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as those conducted by other governmental public health organizations.

Comprehensive indicators of race and ethnicity, beyond the five broad racial groups and two ethnicities (Hispanic/Not Hispanic), as well as indicators for sexual orientation and gender identity, are essential to capture information on groups which may be disproportionately affected by their socioeconomic status, health, and other disparities. Without specific indicators, these populations may not receive adequate consideration in budgeting processes and resource allocations, resulting in further disadvantage.

The AAFP supports collecting data on race and ethnicity that includes specific ethnic groups within each race based upon broader similarities such as country/continent of origin, language, and religious background. The AAFP also supports collecting data about sexual orientation and gender identity, in accordance with current best practices. This includes but is not limited to individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender. Data should be anonymous and confidential to minimize potential harms to individuals surveyed. (July 2018) (2019 COD)