Inaugural Meeting of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations

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Written by: Tom Mesenbourg, Acting Director

October 25, 2012 began a new chapter for the Census Bureau advisory committees when we held our first meeting of the newly established National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations. We met all day Thursday and until past 1 p.m. on Friday, October 26. Twenty-five of the thirty-two committee members attended and everyone was an active participant.

It was great to welcome back some of the former members of the Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees as well to meet and interact with the many new members of NAC.  Paul Watanabe did a superb job chairing the meeting and Nancy Bates very capably served as the Designated Federal Official. The discussion was fulsome and the committee offered many good ideas, both regarding committee operations and Census programs.

Advisory Committees play an important role at the Census Bureau. It is all too easy for the Census Bureau, like any large organization, to become insular. Our capable staff have ably demonstrated that they can innovate and improve the efficiency of our operations, if we ask their advice. However, now more than ever, the challenges we currently face demand that we solicit good ideas and advice, seek new perspectives, and fully engage as many external experts as we can to help us address these challenges.

The diverse backgrounds and experiences of the National Advisory Committee members stimulated multidisciplinary discussions that promise to help us improve all of our programs—decennial, demographic and economic. The members’ deep expertise and perspectives regarding a wide variety of hard-to-count communities is going to be a great resource that the Census Bureau can draw on not only during the biannual meetings, but also all during the year.

I want to thank all of the NAC members for their willingness to provide this critically important public service. I look forward to working collaboratively with the committee and any of the work groups they establish. The NAC members’ expertise and commitment will help ensure that the Census Bureau continues to provide relevant and timely statistics on the people, places and economy of this nation, in an increasingly mobile, diverse and technologically oriented society.

Please visit the news release to find out more about the members of the NAC.

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