NEWS5 November 2021

US Census Bureau chief confirmed

Inclusion News North America People Public Sector

US – The US senate has confirmed Robert Santos as the next head of the US Census Bureau, the first Latino to lead the organisation.

Robert Santos at the Senate hearing

Santos, who was US president Joe Biden’s choice to lead the bureau, was confirmed in the role following a vote in the senate, winning 58 votes to 35 on a bipartisan basis.

He will replace Steven Dillingham, who was appointed by Donald Trump and who resigned on 20th January 2021, when the presidential transition occurred.

Before taking up the role at the US Census Bureau, Santos was vice-president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute. He is the current president of the American Statistical Association.

Santos has also held executive-level positions at the University of Michigan Survey Research Center and NORC at the University of Chicago, as well as being a past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research and the Washington Statistical Society.

The appointment follows last year’s US census, carried out in the middle of Covid-19, and a long-running campaign to boost funding for the Census Bureau to help modernise the organisation and improve the quality of its data.

Santos had previously told the US congress that the bureau needed more transparency and independence to build public trust.

Howard Fienberg, senior vice-president advocacy at the Insights Association, said: “The insights industry looks forward to working with Robert Santos and the Census Bureau at this important time of transition.

“While the bureau is still working on 2020 Census data products, we’re already advocating to bolster the ongoing American Community Survey and prepare for the 2030 census.”

Arturo Vargas, chief executive at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, said: “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Bureau under Robert Santos’ leadership to help it provide the most complete and accurate data possible on the Latino community and all of our nation’s population.

“As a Latino leading the agency, we also hope he will bring his life experience and cultural understanding of the Latino community to pursue new strategies to improve the count of Latinos.

“We also encourage him to make it a priority to improve the representation of Latinos throughout the Census Bureau’s permanent workforce.”