The Head of the Census Resigned. It Could Be as Serious as James Comey

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-05-14 19:20Z by Steven

The Head of the Census Resigned. It Could Be as Serious as James Comey


Haley Sweetland Edwards

John Thompson, Director, U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau

In a week dominated by President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, you could be forgiven for missing the imminent departure of another, less prominent federal official.

Yet the news this week that John H. Thompson, the director of the Census Bureau, has abruptly resigned is arguably as consequential to the future of our democracy. That’s because the Census Bureau, while less flashy than the FBI, plays a staggeringly important role in both U.S. elections and an array of state and federal government functions.

“At the very heart of the Census is nothing less than political power and money,” said Terri Ann Lowenthal, who served as the staff director of the House census oversight subcommittee before becoming a consultant on census policy and operational issues. “It is the basis, the very foundation, of our democracy and the Constitution’s promise of equal representation.”

The results of the decennial Census—the next will be in 2020—will determine how state and federal political districts are drawn; which Americans are “counted” for representation; and how federal dollars, many of which are allocated on a per capita basis, are spent…

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