Biden to Nominate Robert Santos as First Person of Color to Lead U.S. Census Bureau

United States President Joe Biden has chosen Robert Santos, one of the country’s leading statisticians, as his nominee for director of the Census Bureau, the White House announced on April 13.

“He is an expert in survey sampling, survey design and more generally in social science/policy research, with over 40 years of experience,” the White House said in the announcement.

If confirmed by Senate, Santos, who is a Mexican-American, would become the first person of color to lead the federal government’s largest statistical agency that has faced criticisms for under-counting Black people, Latinos, and other minority populations.

The agency is in charge of federal surveys and the once-in-a-decade head count used to determine how many representatives each state gets in Congress, as well as how many federal funds are distributed and spent.

If confirmed, Santos will replace Steven Dillingham 

Santos is currently the vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute, a Washington-based think tank that carries out economic and social policy research.

Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell said that Santos has been “a superb collaborator, a great mentor and teacher, and an important voice for equity and inclusion.”

“If he is confirmed, his contributions to the Census Bureau and the country will be immense,” Wartell also said.

Santos is also the president of the American Statistical Association.


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