Federal Eye: Obama Picks Robert Groves for Census Director

President Obama intends to nominate University of Michigan professor Robert M. Groves today to serve as the next Census director, a long-anticipated announcement made less a year before the 2010 census begins. If confirmed, Groves faces several managerial and political concerns surrounding the constitutionally-mandated headcount.

Groves served as the bureau’s associate director from 1990 to 1992 and currently is director of the university’s Survey Research Center. He has researched why people participate in statistical surveys, worked to develop surveys with lower non-response errors and studied how data is collected for surveys.

A congressional aide familiar with Census matters said Groves has “bulletproof scientific credentials” and is “really highly regarded by his peers as a low-key, determined guy who’s been really focused on reducing error in survey research for his whole career.”

A former prison guard with the Vermont State Prison system, Groves earned a bachelor’s degree with in sociology from Dartmouth College in 1970, and later an M.A. in statistics and sociology and P.h.D. in sociology, from the University of Michigan.

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