March 15, 2024

Bureau's speaker series to feature Census director

Robert L. Santos

Robert L. Santos, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, will visit the University of Nebraska–Lincoln March 20. The visit is hosted by the Bureau of Sociological Research.

Santos will give the talk “How Rural Data Informs the Future of Connected Communities” at 3 p.m. in the Nebraska Union’s Swanson Auditorium, followed by a question-and-answer session. The talk, co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, is free and open to the public.

He will discuss:

  • The gap in census data in rural areas compared to urban areas

  • The differing data needs of rural communities versus urban

  • New data tools available to rural decision-makers

  • The importance of accurate data for precision agriculture

  • Multi-agency partnerships to improve broadband access, rural data collection, climate change response and community reslience.

During his visit, Santos will meet with BOSR staff, faculty and students.

Santos is the 26th director of the Census Bureau. His career spans more than 40 years in survey research, statistical design and analysis, and executive-level management. He previously served as vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute, where he directed its Statistical Methods Group.

Santos has held leadership positions at top survey research organizations, including the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center, the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and Temple University’s Institute for Survey Research. His research expertise includes quantitative and qualitative research design, program evaluation, needs assessments, survey methodology and survey operations. He also has research experience with demographic and administrative data, decennial censuses, social policy research and equity issues.

Santos has received the American Statistical Association’s Founder’s Award (2006); the American Association for Public Opinion Research Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement (2021); Mexico’s Ohtli Award (2022), recognizing contributions to the Mexican community; and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Excellence in Community Service Award (2023).

He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Trinity University in San Antonio and a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Michigan. In 2023, he received honorary degrees from North Carolina State University and San Antonio College.