ASSEMBLY, No. 3092

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 7, 2022

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  STERLEY S. STANLEY

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblywoman  SADAF F. JAFFER

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)

Assemblyman  RAJ MUKHERJI

District 33 (Hudson)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Spearman, Assemblywomen Haider, Speight, Park and McKnight

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires State agencies update demographic data collection methods on Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian and Indian Diaspora residents of this State.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the collection of demographic data of certain ethnic groups and supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI), Middle Easterners and North Africans (MENA), and South Asian and Indian Diaspora peoples are significant and important communities in New Jersey.  New Jersey has nearly one million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders residing in the State, about 10 percent of the State population.  The number of Middle Eastern and North African and South Asian and Indian Diaspora residents cannot be accurately determined with the current collection methods.  The members of these communities have made significant contributions to the culture and economy of this State.

     Due to the diversity in the AANHPI communities, the United States Office of Management and Budget’s Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, entitled “Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics,” separated the “Asian and Pacific Islander” category into two distinct and separate categories, now called “Asians” and “Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.”  These two distinct categories were first used in the 2000 United States Census.  The United States Census Bureau currently reports data for more than 20 different ethnicities within these two categories.

     The MENA communities in this State and on the federal level are categorized as “White.”  However, this racial identity has not matched the discrimination in housing, workplaces, and through daily life that many in the MENA community say they have faced.  Many younger people in the MENA community often compare their experiences to those in communities of color.  However, with a lack of a clear category, this paradox has been difficult to show through data.

     The South Asian and Indian Diaspora communities in this State often have difficulty selecting which category they fit into when filling out demographic information.  Given India’s extensive migration history over the centuries, ethnic Indians have established communities on every continent as well as on islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific and Indian oceans.  These communities are wide-ranging and while they do share geographical and cultural commonalities, they also experience diverse social, educational, health, and economic differences that are unique to their respective communities.

     Existing State law requires demographic data to be collected, which includes the AANHPI communities.  However, the collection by State agencies is often far too general and does not incorporate breakdowns for the numerous ethnic groups within the AANHPI communities.  Additionally, State law does not require such a breakdown for the MENA and South Asian and Indian Diaspora communities.  Also, this data is not made as accessible as it can be to the public.  Data should be updated on a regular basis and made accessible to the public so that local governments, elected officials, decision makers, and other stakeholders can use the information to strategically target programs for those most in need.

     Given the diversity of languages and culture, separating data for additional Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian and Indian Diaspora ethnic groups and making that data publicly accessible are critical for enhancing our State’s understanding of the needs and experiences of these different communities.

 

     2.    a.  Each State agency that directly or by contract collects demographic data as to the ancestry or ethnic origin of residents of the State of New Jersey shall use separate collection categories and tabulations for the following:

     (1)   each major Asian group, including, but not limited to, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Asian Indian, Laotian, Cambodian, Bangladeshi, Hmong, Indonesian, Malaysian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Nepalese, Burmese, Tibetan, and Thai;

     (2)   each major Pacific Islander group, including, but not limited to, Hawaiian, Guamanian, Samoan, Fijian, and Tongan;

     (3)   each major Middle Eastern and North African group, including, but not limited to, Algerian, Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian, Kuwaiti, Lebanese, Libyan, Moroccan, Omani, and Tunisian;

     (4)   each major South Asian and Indian Diaspora group, including, but not limited to, Guyanese, Trinidadian and Tobagonian, and Surinamese; and

     (5)   other Asian, Pacific Islander, South Asian and Indian Diaspora, or Middle Eastern and North African group.

     b.    Each State agency that directly or by contract collects demographic data as to the ancestry or ethnic origin of residents of the State of New Jersey shall use separate collection categories and tabulations for the following:

     (1)   the primary language spoken at home; and

     (2)   the ethnic group or ancestry.

     c.     The data collected pursuant to the provisions of subsections a. and b. of this section shall be included in every demographic report on ancestry or ethnic origins of residents of the State of New Jersey by the State agency published or released on or after the first day of the third month following the effective date of this act, P.L.    . c.   (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     The data shall be made available to the public in accordance with State and federal law, except for personal identifying information, which shall be deemed confidential, by posting the data on the internet website of the State agency.

     d.    As used in this section, “State agency” means any agency in the executive branch of the State government, including, but not limited to, any department, board, bureau, commission, division, office, council, or instrumentality thereof, or independent agency, public authority or public benefit corporation, and any State college or public institution of higher education.

 

     3.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the fifth month following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires that State agencies update demographic data collection methods on Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian and Indian Diaspora residents of New Jersey.

     Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI), Middle Easterners and North Africans (MENA), and South Asian and Indian Diaspora peoples are significant and important communities in New Jersey.  New Jersey has nearly one million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders residing in the State.  The number of residents who would classify as Middle Eastern and North African or as South Asian and Indian Diaspora peoples cannot be determined under current collection methods.

     The members of these communities have made significant contributions to the culture and economy of this State.  The AANHPI, MENA, and South Asian and Indian Diaspora communities encompass a wide range of countries, ethnicities, nationalities, and identities.

     Since 2000, the United States Census Bureau has separated the broader AANHPI label into two distinct categories labeled “Asian” and “Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.”  The Census Bureau currently reports data for more than 20 different ethnicities within these two categories.  Middle Eastern and North African and South Asian and Indian Diaspora categories do not currently exist.  There is speculation that the 2030 United State Census may include a category for Middle Eastern and North African.

     Given the diversity of languages and culture, separating data for additional Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian and Indian Diaspora ethnic groups and making that data publicly accessible are critical for enhancing our State’s understanding of the needs and experiences of these different communities.

     This bill requires each State agency that directly or by contract collects demographic data as to the ancestry or ethnic origin of residents of the State of New Jersey to use separate collection categories and tabulations for these groups.  The groups would be broken down by the following categories:

     (1)   each major Asian group;

     (2)   each major Pacific Islander group, including Native Hawaiian;

     (3)   each major Middle Eastern and North African group;

     (4)   each major South Asian and Indian Diaspora group; and

     (5)   other Asian or Pacific Islander group.

     This bill also requires each State agency collecting demographic data to use separate collection categories and tabulations for:

     (1)   the primary language spoken at home; and

     (2)   the ethnic group or ancestry.

     The data collected would be included in every demographic report on ancestry or ethnic origins of residents of the State of New Jersey.  The data would be made public, except for personal identifying information, by posting the data on the internet website of the State agency.

     This bill would take effect on the first day of the fifth month following enactment.