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Daniel Weinberg, the man behind the nation's census

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daniel Weinberg

Assistant director

American Community Survey and Decennial Census, U.S. Census Bureau

Best known for: Playing a key management role in 2010 Census count while also planning for the 2020 Census, which will make greater use of the Internet in collecting the nation's population and household data. Weinberg also supervises the American Community Survey Office, which collects and produces population and housing information every year, and has gained recognition for improving the measurements of poverty to help policymakers make more informed decisions.

Government service: Weinberg started his federal career in 1980 at the Department of Health and Human Services, working on planning and evaluation. In 1989, he moved to the Census Bureau, where he has been chief of the housing and household economic statistics division, chief economist and head of the Center for Economic Studies, and now assistant director for the American Community Survey and Decennial Census.

Biggest challenge of the job: Undertaking a census is the federal government's largest domestic activity. The biggest challenge is to accept suggestions for improvement, make those changes that are feasible without accepting undue risk to the program, and then ensure that the "troops" in the field are supported logistically and paid on time.

Quote: "Since the decennial census is in our Constitution, it is the most important task a government statistician can undertake. The census is key to our democratic society by making sure that our congressional districts are equal in size so that we have representative democracy. To be involved in something that is central to our democracy is pretty exciting."

-- From the Partnership for Public Service

For more on Weinberg, visit http://washingtonpost.com/fedpage.

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