Preston Jay Waite
U.S. Census Bureau
Preston Jay Waite, a career U.S. Census Bureau employee, became deputy director on Feb. 1, 2007. He is also the chief operating officer, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the government’s preeminent statistical agency. The Census Bureau has about 12,000 employees – nearly 5,000 at Suitland, Md., headquarters and the rest based at regional offices and telephone centers across the country.
In 2010, Waite will also oversee the decennial census, the nation’s largest peacetime mobilization with more than 500,000 temporary workers and a budget exceeding $11 billion.
A native of Hyde Park, Utah, Waite began his Census Bureau career in 1971 after earning a master’s degree in mathematics and computer science at Utah State University.
Waite became chief of the Demographic Statistical Methods Division in 1987 where he directed the 1990 sample redesign of all the demographic surveys. He became assistant director and chief operating officer of the Decennial Census in 1997, and was part of the team that delivered Census 2000. He became associate director for the Decennial Census, including the American Community Survey, the short-form census and all of the Census Bureau’s geographic programs in 2001.
Waite is the visionary and architect of the 2010 reengineered census. Using hand-held computers for data collection, a major expansion of technology, will dramatically change the way censuses will be conducted for decades to come.
Waite has authored and/or co-authored more than a dozen papers in professional journals and publications. He has been an American Statistical Association Fellow since 2000 and was appointed to the ASA Fellows Committee in April 2007.
Among his many awards are two Department of Commerce Gold Medals, one for his work in overseeing the redesign of the demographic surveys in 1990 and a second one for the leadership and management of Census 2000 operations. Waite received the Hammer Award for his work in the development of the American Community Survey in 1999. He has also received two Presidential Rank Awards, one for Meritorious Executive in 1997, and a second one for Distinguished Executive in 2005.
Waite and his wife reside in Waldorf, Md. They have three children and 10 grandchildren.