Robert L. Santos is the 26th director of the U.S. Census Bureau. He was sworn in on January 5, 2022.
Santos’ career spans more than 40 years in survey research, statistical design and analysis, and executive-level management. He previously served for 15 years as vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute and directed its Statistical Methods Group and was executive vice president and partner of NuStats, a social science research firm in Austin, Texas.
Santos has held leadership positions in the nation’s top survey research organizations, including the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, where he served as vice president of statistics and methodology and director of survey operations; the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, as director of survey operations; and Temple University’s Institute for Survey Research, as senior study director and sampling statistician.
Santos specializes in quantitative and qualitative research design, including program evaluation, needs assessments, survey methodology, and survey operations. He also has expertise in demographic and administrative data, decennial censuses, social policy research, and equity issues in research.
Santos served as the 2021 president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and is an ASA fellow and 2006 recipient of the ASA Founder’s Award. He was the 2014 president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and received the 2021 AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement. Santos is also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and, from 2017 to 2020, was a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was also a longtime member of the editorial board of Public Opinion Quarterly.
Santos was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Holy Cross of San Antonio high school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Trinity University in San Antonio and a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.