Census director resigns

May 11, 2017

The U.S. Census director John H. Thompson resigned and will leave June 30. Seems not good. And a horrible time for government data in general.

The news, which surprised census experts, follows an April congressional budget allocation for the census that critics say is woefully inadequate. And it comes less than a week after a prickly hearing at which Thompson told lawmakers that cost estimates for a new electronic data collection system had ballooned by nearly 50 percent.

Isn’t this supposed to be the age of big data or something? I thought data was the new oil. Measure things to improve them. Etc. Census data — not just the decennial stuff — is core in so much policy-making to make sure people are properly represented. The direction government data seems to be headed confuses and frustrates to no end, and to think that just a few years ago I’d think happy thoughts with the prospect of where it was going.

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