The Senate late last week confirmed President Biden’s nominee Robert Santos to be the next director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

In a 58-35 bipartisan vote, the Senate has set up Santos to be the first Latino and first person of color to permanently lead the tech-heavy agency. His five-year term would begin in January 2022 and end on December 31, 2026.

Santos is currently vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.- based think tank. He brings with him over 40 years of experience and expertise in social science and policy research, as well as survey sampling and design.

His expertise would serve him well at the Census Bureau, which earlier this year announced it was looking to start using cloud services to design and deploy surveys.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the Census Bureau successfully ramped up its use of automation, internet-driven outreach, and other emerging technology tools to conduct the last decennial census amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the department is also looking to address data challenges GAO identified with a view to the 2030 census.

Santos is also president of the American Statistical Association and has been given the organization’s highest recognition for service and leadership. His career has also included stops at the University of Michigan and Temple University as the director of survey operations and senior study director, respectively.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.