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U.S. Senate confirms San Antonio native Robert Santos as first Latino to head the Census Bureau


Robert Santos would be the first person of color to permanently oversee the U.S. Census Bureau. - COURTESY PHOTO / AMERICAN STATISTICAL ASSOCIATION
  • Courtesy Photo / American Statistical Association
  • Robert Santos would be the first person of color to permanently oversee the U.S. Census Bureau.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed San Antonio native Robert Santos to head the U.S. Census Bureau, making him the first Latino to oversee the federal government's top statistical agency.

Santos, whom the Biden White House nominated for the position in April, will guide the Census Bureau as it seeks to move past the turmoil that racked it during the Trump era. He was approved on a 58-35 vote.

In addition to being the first Latino to lead the Census Bureau, Santos is also the first person of color to direct it on more than an interim basis. The agency oversees the nation's once-a-decade population count, helps set the number of electors in the Electoral College and compiles a wealth of demographic data.

Santos takes over leadership of the bureau after it became embroiled in controversy during the Trump administration. The prior director resigned amid criticism that Trump and his circle were politicizing the agency's data collection in a bid to shore up Republican electoral power.

Prior to taking on his current role, Santos served as vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. In his 40 years of experience in social science and policy research, he has worked for multiple research and statistical organizations. He was the 2006 recipient of the Founder's Award from the American Statistical Association.

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