Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of an America Built to Last.
I direct the Demographic programs at the Census Bureau. We calculate annual population estimates for each area of the US, calculate the official poverty rate numbers, and work with data from the decennial census and the American Community Survey to create numerous reports and products that inform our nation about the changing characteristics of our growing population. We also conduct surveys on behalf of other Federal agencies such as the National Crime Victims Survey, which the Bureau of Justice Statistics uses to calculate the crime rate, the Current Population Survey, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to calculate the unemployment rate each month, and many others. One unsung area of the Census is our strong international program. That group, in cooperation with USAID and other agencies, offers technical assistance to countries on how to set up their own scientific and objective statistical activities and conduct censuses and surveys of their population.
The President has laid out a vision to build an America that lasts, and the Census Bureau contributes to that future. Much of the data that we produce is used by state and local Economic Development Authorities to bring businesses to their area. Businesses use the information to make relocation decisions and to target their marketing appropriately. We also report, at various geographic levels such as states, counties, cities, and small towns, on educational attainment, income, poverty, how people make various use of government assistance programs, and other critical information needed to inform our communities on how we as a nation are doing and where we need to invest our resources to strengthen our future. Without the data collected by the Census Bureau, we would not have the information we need to grow our economy, create jobs, improve our schools, build roads, and other activities critical to our civil society.
I grew up in Detroit, but have been living in the Washington, DC area for many years now. I earned my Masters in Administrative Science from the University of Alabama and then became a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Transportation. I went on to earn my Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from the George Washington University. Since I enjoy school and learning so much, I’ve returned as an adjunct professor there, teaching in the Trachtenberg School of Public policy and Public Administration.