John H. Thompson was sworn in as the 24th U.S. Census Bureau Director on August 8, 2013.
Thompson succeeds Robert Groves, who left the Census Bureau to become provost of Georgetown University in 2012.
A statistician and executive, Thompson had been President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago since 2008. He served as the independent research organization's Executive Vice President from 2002 to 2008. NORC, previously known as the National Opinion Research Center, collaborates with government agencies, foundations, education institutions, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to provide data and analysis that support informed decision making in key areas including health, education, criminal justice, energy, substance abuse, mental health, and the environment.
As Director, Thompson will oversee preparations for the 2020 Census and preside over more than 100 other censuses and surveys, that measure America's people, places, and economy, and provide the basis for crucial economic indicators such as the unemployment rate.
Upon being confirmed, Thompson said: "As America forges its data-driven future, the Census Bureau must lead the way by tracking emerging trends, developing more efficient processes, and embracing new technologies for planning and executing the surveys it conducts that are so important to the nation. A culture of innovation and adaptability will allow the Census Bureau to serve the public's needs and meet the challenges of this dynamic new environment."
Thompson had a distinguished career at the Census Bureau from 1975 to 2002 before joining NORC. As an Associate Director, he was the senior career executive responsible for all aspects of the 2000 Census. Prior to that, Thompson served as Chief of the Decennial Management Division. He worked in the Statistical Support Division from 1987 to 1995 and the Statistical Methods Division from 1975 to 1987.
A longtime leader in the social science research community, Thompson is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association and past chair of the association's Social Statistics Section and Committee on Fellows. He served as a member of the Committee on National Statistics at the National Academy of Sciences. He participated as a member of the Committee on National Statistics Panel on the design of the 2010 Census Program of Evaluations and Experiments and the Panel to Review the 2010 Census.
He holds both a BS and MS degree in mathematics from Virginia Tech.