Chairman Carper Statement on President’s Intent to Nominate John Thompson as Director of the U.S. Census Bureau

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) welcomed the announcement of President Obama’s intent to nominate John H. Thompson as the next U.S. Census Bureau Director. Chairman Carper has called on the Obama Administration to quickly work to nominate qualified individuals to fill key management level positions that are vacant, including the U.S. Census Bureau.


“Most people know that the Census Bureau is the government agency charged with counting our nation’s population every 10 years,” said Chairman Carper. “What is less known, but still critically important, is that the Census Bureau regularly provides the government, business, and academia with an updated picture of who we are as individuals, communities, and a nation. As one of the federal government’s few constitutionally mandated functions, the decennial census plays a central role in a number of issues ranging from determining how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives to how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal assistance are allocated to state and local governments.  Needless to say, finding and enumerating more than 300 million individuals is an extremely daunting task – one that requires years of careful planning, preparation, research, and most of all, good leadership.

“President Obama’s announcement comes at a critical time for the Census Bureau as it continues to prepare for its 2020 count while also working to complete its ongoing survey work,” continued Chairman Carper. “I think the President has made a wise choice in nominating Dr. John Thompson for this important position. Dr. Thompson has a strong background in statistics and issues related to the census and if confirmed, he will bring a wealth of experience and service to his new role as Director of the Census Bureau. Dr. Thompson spent several years working in management positions at the Bureau and his previous tenure there means he is familiar with the agency’s unique culture and mission and he understands the important link between a well-run agency and a successful enumeration. The cost of the 2010 Census totaled $14 billion, making it the most expensive census history.  At a time when the federal government is facing an unprecedented budget deficit, it is critical that we do what all that we can to ensure an accurate and cost-effective decennial census.  I appreciate Dr. Thompson’s willingness to tackle this challenge, and I look forward to hearing his views on a strategy for planning a more cost-efficient 2020 Census as well as other issues currently facing the Census Bureau.  I look forward to meeting with Dr. Thompson and working with my colleagues on the Committee to consider his nomination in a thorough and timely manner.”

John H. Thompson is the President and CEO of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, a position he has held since 2008.  He previously served as Executive Vice President of NORC from 2002 to 2008.  Prior to this, Mr. Thompson has held various positions at the United States Census Bureau since 1975, including Associate Director for the Decennial Census and Chief of the Decennial Management Division.  He also worked in the Statistical Support Division from 1987 to 1995 and the Statistical Methods Division from 1975 to 1987.  Mr. Thompson has been member of the American Statistical Association since 1975.  He was elected as a Fellow of the Association in 2000, and has chaired the Social Statistics Section in 2011 and the Committee on Fellows in 2009.  He is currently serving as a member of the Committee on National Statistics with the National Academy of Sciences.  Mr. Thompson received a B.S. and M.S. from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.