At this crucial moment of preparation for the 2020 Census, we need to quickly and appropriately replace retiring Census Bureau Director John Thompson.
The Insights Association, the leading and largest nonprofit organization representing the marketing research and analytics industry, recently joined a Census Project coalition letter to President Trump urging "the prompt nomination of a new Census Bureau Director."
The letter continues:
"With Census 2020 only three years away, it is imperative that the Bureau have a highly qualified and respected director in place as soon as possible. As you know, preparations for Census 2020 are well underway with less than one year before a critical “dress rehearsal” of all decennial census innovations and procedures occurs in three areas of the United States. Failure to fill this vacancy quickly could jeopardize the success of this 2018 End-to-End Readiness Test, delay final design decisions and impair preparations for the 2020 Census. The Census Director also must oversee the conduct of the 2017 Economic Census, the source of all baseline data for our economic indicators and national income accounts, as well as efforts to strengthen and streamline the American Community Survey (ACS), which updates the census throughout the decade. Simply put, the need for strong, decisive leadership at the Census Bureau, particularly at this juncture, cannot be overstated.
The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 requires that the Census Bureau Director have “demonstrated ability in managing large organizations and experience in the collection, analysis, and use of statistical data.” As census stakeholders, we feel strongly that the next director should also be someone with visibility and stature in the statistical community, who has an ability to interact effectively with Congress, the Administration, and census stakeholders in the public and private sectors, and possess a thorough understanding of the National Academies’ Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency
Decennial census data are central to our democracy, affecting not only apportionment and redistricting, but also the distribution of approximately $600 billion in federal assistance to states and localities each year. Given the significance of the Bureau’s mission and the data it produces, the process for selecting for the next Director should continue the tradition of respecting the agency’s political independence, both in reality and perception, and to guard against diminished public confidence in the census process and outcome."