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Video capture of the moment Robert Santos is confirmed as Census Bureau director by the Senate. Photo: Twitter
Video capture of the moment Robert Santos is confirmed as Census Bureau director by the Senate. Photo: Twitter 

Robert Santos Confirmed as U.S. Census Bureau Director

Santos is the first Hispanic to assume the position in the bureau's history. 

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May 27th, 2022

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On Thursday, Nov. 4, a Senate panel confirmed Robert Santos, a third-generation Mexican-American born in San Antonio, Texas, as the new director of the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Santos, a statistician with more than 30 years of experience, is a former president of the American Statistical Association and a former vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute.

 "I am a scientist, executive-level manager, researcher and longtime supporter of the Census Bureau," he said at his Senate confirmation hearing. He also assured senators that his two passions were statistics and helping people.

This appointment continues the current administration's line of putting people of color and different ethnic backgrounds in high public office. Santos is not only the first Hispanic director of the Census Bureau, but the first of color to reach the position.

Santos' confirmation to the post had been expected for months, as the previous director, Steven Dillingham, resigned last January just as the bureau was amid collecting data for the 2020 census, and was facing criticism for agreeing with former President Donald Trump's demand to collect information on people's immigration status.

A coalition of civil rights groups called for Santos to be confirmed, in a letter to the Senate last summer.

"It is important that the bureau be led by a Senate-confirmed director who can speak with the level of authority necessary to build broad confidence in the results of a difficult and controversial census," said the letter sent by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Although Santos will not take office until January, his arrival is already seen as big news for the bureau, which in recent years, has been led by politicians with little of the necessary technical expertise. Most of thee appointments occurred under the Trump administration, raising serious concerns from the American Statistical Association, of which Santos was president. 

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