The Commerce Department announced a few days ago that the Director of the United States Census Bureau is resigning. He will leave his post on June 30, prior to his term ending in December, which will leave the agency leaderless. His resignation comes at a time when the agency is facing turmoil over funding for the 2020 Census and beyond. An acting director will be appointed in the next few days to take over once June 30 comes around.

Who is the U.S. Census Bureau director?

John H. Thompson graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. and M.S. in mathematics.

Right after graduating, he went to work for the United States Census Bureau. He worked there for 27 years before retiring in 2002. He got to the position of Associate Director and played a major role in the 2000 Census. Prior to that, he worked in the Statistical Method Division and as the Chief of the Decennial Management Division.

He served as the Executive Vice President of the National Opinion Research Center in Chicago (NORC) at the University of Chicago after retiring. In 2008, he became the President and CEO of NORC. He left the job after being tapped by President Obama to become the 24th Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. The Senate confirmed him in August 2013.

What is the funding crisis facing the agency?

The U.S. Census takes place every 10 years and requires a giant ramp-up in spending in the years prior. This increased spending involves substantial amounts of testing, hiring and publicity for the census. Last month, the congressional budget allocation for the census faced harsh criticism for being sorely deficient.

This is because Congress only approved $1.47 billion for the United States Census Bureau for the 2017 fiscal year. This is around 10% below what the outgoing Obama administration had requested for the agency. Experts are also saying that next year's proposed budget of $1.5 billion is also well below the needed amount.

Just last week, John H.

Thompson told lawmakers at a hearing that the cost projections for a new electronic data collection system had soared by almost 50%. This is a problem as the bureau has been planning to put in a new system that uses more electronic data than in the past.

However, the bureau enacted this plan before Congress told them that the 2020 census could not cost more than the 2010 one. Those that are knowledge about the census are saying that Congress' order about keeping the cost below what it was in 2010 is completely unrealistic.