Count Iranian Americans

Counting Iranian Americans in the Census

In March 2024, after decades of research, education and advocacy by NIAC and many others, the Office of Management and Budget announced that the next Census in 2030 will officially include Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) as a federal category option, with “Iranian” included as a subcategory, among others. This change will ultimately allow us to better understand and subsequently cater to our community’s needs in health, business, political representation, and more. 

But more work needs to be done to ensure helpful data is collected at the federal level, and to build on that foundation at state level — including the campaign to establish a MENA category in the state of California through advocacy for AB 2763 – the California MENA Inclusion Act.

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How did we reach this point? What are the benefits of a MENA category? What happens now that the category has been adopted?

With the federal government set to finally count Iranian Americans and other MENA communities in the Census, there is still more work to ensure these benefits are felt at the state level. Watch the expert panel here >>

Updates >>

California Legislature Introduces the MENA Inclusion Act🎉

The introduction of this bill is a crucial step to officially put our community on the map and open up new resources and benefits – from having better data to address health disparities in our communities, to economic growth opportunities, to increasing our political presence and participation. 

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MENA Category Rejected by Census Bureau Despite Clear Benefits

Washington, DC – The US Census Bureau once again declined to add a Middle East and North African (MENA) category for the 2020 census. Many Americans of Middle-Eastern descent, including Iranian Americans, have for decades sought the additional category so that the census more accurately reflects America’s mosaic of different cultures and the voices of Iranian Americans are not ignored by lawmakers.

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