Today, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced his retirement in a message to the Bureau staff and expressed his heartfelt appreciation for their extraordinary accomplishments, especially those related to the successful 2020 Census. The Director also posted a blog which further responds to recent published comments and media reports regarding census data:
To the Outstanding Women and Men of the U.S. Census Bureau:
A little over two years ago, I took an oath to serve you as the 25th Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. At that time, we knew we had great challenges ahead of us, especially in conducting the most complex, technologically advanced decennial census ever.
None of us could anticipate that as we fully launched the 2020 Census, a global health crisis would upend a schedule and plans which had been carefully constructed over a decade. Nor would we anticipate the impact this crisis would have on our numerous vital household surveys and economic products which guide decisions across the public, private, and not-for-profit sector.
Many institutions demurred in the face of this pandemic, and it is easy to understand why. But you did not. You met this challenge head on and overcame it. You adapted operations to carry out the mission while following public health and safety protocols. You made great sacrifices to continue our work as you and your loved ones experienced the pandemic. You were resilient and persevered.
You adapted to serve your Country in new and innovative ways. While other organizations scaled back, you added relevant and timely new products to the Census portfolio. The world has never needed complete and accurate data more than it does now. As we pull together to beat this terrible virus and rebuild our communities, your work shines a light on the path forward.
For decades to come, scholars will study your work, not only to review and use the data you produced, but to answer the question of how the Census Bureau defied the odds to accomplish its mission.
I know, from firsthand experience, our successes are the result of your creativity, tenacity, passion, and commitment.
I have been a career civil servant stretching over several decades, serving all administrations since the mid-1980s. I have had the distinct honor of directing three statistical agencies. I retired from Federal service nearly five years ago but returned because I felt a calling to serve once more. Effective January 20, 2021, I will be retiring from my position as director of the U.S. Census Bureau. I have a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart for all you have done for our Nation.
With deepest admiration, respect, and appreciation,