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Release Number CB15-174
Component ID: #ti1708718554

Barbara Anderson Named New Chairwoman

U.S. Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson has named six new members and a chairwoman to the Census Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Committee, chartered to provide advice on the design, operation and implementation of Census Bureau programs.

“We are excited to add such an array of expertise to our advisory committee,” Thompson said. “These are leading voices from the scientific community, offering the kind of experience and outside perspective that the Census Bureau needs as we set course for the future of data collection while maintaining our commitment to statistical quality.”

The new Census Scientific Advisory Committee members are:

  • Juan Pablo Hourcade, associate professor at the University of Iowa’s Department of Computer Science. His main area of research is human-computer interaction. Hourcade previously worked in the Census Bureau’s Statistical Research Division.
  • Jeff Lower, executive vice president of IIC Technologies based in Huntsville, Ala. He has more than 22 years of geospatial experience, managing programs for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Society, U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others.  Lower just completed a two-year term as president of the Management Association of Private Photogrammetric Surveyors, the only U.S. national trade association of private sector geospatial firms.
  • Kathryn Pettit, a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. Her research focuses on measuring and understanding neighborhood change.  
  • Allison Plyer, the executive director and chief demographer of The Data Center, a New Orleans-based private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research. She is lead author of The New Orleans Index series, developed in collaboration with the Brookings Institution to analyze the state of New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina and to track the region’s progress toward prosperity.
  • Krishna Rao, director of economic product and research at Zillow, where he leads a team focused on producing impartial, data-driven economic analysis on the U.S. housing market and transforming real estate data and economic trends into insights and research for consumers, industry professionals, policymakers and academics.
  • Andrew A. Samwick, a professor of economics and director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences at Dartmouth College. In 2003, he joined the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, serving for a year as its chief economist.

Additionally, Director Thompson has appointed Barbara Anderson as chairwoman of the Census Scientific Advisory Committee. Anderson is a sociology and population studies professor at the University of Michigan. The former faculty member at Yale and Brown universities has published articles on effects of an interviewer’s race in surveys and on issues of data quality.

“A lot of the challenges that face the Census Bureau are common throughout the world,” Anderson said. “Having international experience in a comparative perspective is helpful in giving advice to my own government.”

Anderson heads the 21 members of the Census Scientific Advisory Committee, who each serve three-year terms. The committee meets twice a year to address policy, research and technical issues relating to a full range of Census Bureau programs and activities, including communications, decennial, demographic, economic, field operations, geographic, information technology and statistics.

“One of the most interesting things about being here is to see the breadth of the different surveys and censuses that are conducted,” Andrew Samwick, one of the new advisory committee members said. “You begin to appreciate the very large operational effort that is behind the data.”

For more on the Census Advisory Committees, go to <>.


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