ASA Urges Appointment of US Census Bureau Leadership That Maintains Integrity, Objectivity of Bureau, Decennial Census

Reacting to the Trump administration reportedly considering a deputy director of the US Census Bureau who appears to lack the necessary management and statistical agency experience and may be viewed by many to have a political perspective, ASA President Barry Nussbaum wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross November 21. Nussbaum, noting that the impartiality of the Census Bureau is paramount, urged that the deputy director be of stature and experience to maintain the integrity and objectivity of the bureau and its work. Nussbaum also urged the prompt appointment of a director to fulfill the many qualifications laid out in the letter, concluding, “A Senate-confirmed leader is essential in the final few years leading up to the 2020 decennial census.”

Nussbaum further wrote:

“The appointment appears to be scheduled to precede Senate confirmation of the next Census Bureau director, thereby circumventing the Senate’s opportunity to act in time for major decisions about the 2020 census … the deputy director has traditionally been a civil servant with the credentials we call for.”

and

“Throughout its 178-year history, the American Statistical Association has worked with the Census Bureau to help ensure an accurate and cost-effective decennial census. With this experience, we know it is essential the decennial census be regarded as a nonpolitical activity. Any perception of a political motive will only undermine this most important activity enshrined in the United States Constitution. For this reason, Congress requires Senate confirmation of the director.”

Read the entire the letter.