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Director Biographies

Directors 1989 - 2001

Barbara Everitt Bryant Barbara Everitt Bryant (1989 -1993): The first woman to be director of the Census Bureau, Barbara Bryant was born in April 1926 in Ann Arbor, MI. She earned a B.A. in Physics from Cornell University in 1947, and was art editor for Chemical Engineering magazine before leaving the workforce to start a family. After all of her children had reached school age, she took a job at Oakland University in Michigan. It was at this job that she decided it was necessary for her career to go back to school and earn a higher degree.

Bryant enrolled at Michigan State University, earning her Ph.D. in communications in 1970. From there, she took a job at Market Opinion Research, where she stayed until 1989. That year, she accepted a nomination for director of the Census Bureau, and was appointed by President Bush during a congressional recess. Bryant joined the Census Bureau after almost all of the planning for the 1990 census was already complete, but she lead the actual enumeration and the Census Bureau's response to accusations of an undercount that followed.

Bryant left the Census Bureau in 1993, taking a position at the University of Michigan Business School where she was both a research scientist and director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index. She also participated in the Census Bureau's oral history program [PDF 154k].

Martha Farnsworth Riche Martha Farnsworth Riche (1994-1998): A native of Ann Arbor, Martha Riche received a B.A. and M.A. in economics from the University of Michigan. She earned a Ph.D. in literature and linguistics from Georgetown University in 1961, and then worked as an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 1978, Riche left the federal government to become a founding editor of American Demographics magazine.

In 1991, Riche became director of policy studies for the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit organization founded to disseminate demographic information and inform the public about the demographic component of policy issues. From there, President Bill Clinton appointed her director of the Census Bureau. Resigning in 1998, she is currently a principal at her own research and consulting firm and is an associate research professor at the University of Maryland. Riche participated in the Census Bureau's oral history program, available here. [PDF 273k]

Kenneth Prewitt Kenneth Prewitt (1998-2001): Ken Prewitt was born in 1936 in Alton, IL. He attained his B.A. from Southern Methodist University in 1958 before earning his M.A. the next year from Washington University; he also attended the Harvard School of Divinity. In 1963, he earned his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.

From 1965 until 1983, Prewitt taught at the University of Chicago, eventually achieving the rank of full professor. Additionally, he taught at Stanford, Columbia, Washington and Makerere Universities. Prewitt was also senior vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation for ten years, and served for five years as director of the National Opinion Research Center.

President Bill Clinton appointed Prewitt to replace the departing Martha Farnsworth Riche as director of the Census Bureau in 1998. From this post, he led 2000 census efforts, including the Census Bureau's planned but not enacted sampling proposal. Since his resignation in 2001, Prewitt has published many books and articles, including several about the census and was a professor and fellow at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

In April 2021, Dr. Prewitt returned to the Census Bureau as a senior advisor in the Office of the Director.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 05, 2022