Dr Robert Groves, the 23rd Director of the US Census Bureau, has resigned his position in order to take up the post of Provost of Georgetown University in late August.
head of the Census Bureau in 2009 at a ceremony attended by seven of his predecessors as well as hundreds of members of the statistical community and Census Bureau employees. His nomination by President Obama had caused concern among Republicans who felt that his support for statistical sampling would benefit minorities and poor Americans who generally vote Democrat. However, when Groves confirmed that he would not be using statistical sampling to adjust the 2010 census, his nomination was approved with 76 Senators voting in favour, compared with 15 who opposed.
Under his leadership, Groves oversaw a workforce of more than 700,000 and a multibillion-dollar budget. He reorganized the Census Bureau, established a new research directorate and a national network of research nodes on university campuses, and during his tenure, the 2010 Census was delivered on time and almost $2m under budget.
On hearing about his resignation yesterday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, praised Groves, saying: ‘His tenure is proof that appointing good people makes a big difference.’
In his blog, Dr Groves said that the current staff at the Census Bureau had learnt a number of things during the 2010 Census, including that the costs of traditional data collection methods are increasing because of changes in US society, and that the demand for more statistical information is growing.
‘Everything the Census Bureau staff is doing focuses on creating more efficient processes to free up resources to invest in new and better statistics,’ Groves stated. ‘This is hard work. It takes complete commitment to ongoing innovation. It’s not flashy. Indeed, public service is rarely sexy. It is, however, noble. I’ve learned that in a deep way since July 2009 from the behavior of my colleagues at the Census Bureau.’
Prior to taking on his current role, Groves spent his entire academic career at the University of Michigan, where he latterly led the Survey Research Center. During this time, his work involved understanding how alternative research designs affect the data collected, and examining social and cognitive theory regarding why respondents decide to participate in statistical surveys.
Groves will take up his new position on 20 August.
Web site: www.georgetown.edu