Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

U-M’s Roderick Little appointed to Census Bureau post

U-M biostatistician Roderick Little will join the U.S. Census Bureau as associate director for statistical methodology and standards.


Little will lead a new directorate that will focus on enhancing the research and innovation capacity of the Census Bureau, a top priority of Director Robert Groves in a time of unprecedented change in society’s need for statistical information, available tools for data collection and challenges in gaining cooperation of the American public to its surveys.

“Rod Little is one of the world’s best statisticians and survey methodologists,” says Groves. “I am thrilled that he is willing to devote his substantial energy and talent to advancing the role of science in the Census Bureau. Under his leadership I am confident that the Census Bureau will advance discoveries and innovation in statistical research for the benefit of the entire country.”

Little is the Richard D. Remington Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, and he chaired the Department of Biostatistics from 1993-2001 and 2006-09. He also is professor of statistics and a research professor at the Institute for Social Research (ISR).

“Good government requires good data, and statistical agencies face challenging problems in data collection and analysis, for both censuses and surveys,” Little says. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to help Bob Groves to improve the Census Bureau’s research capabilities and broaden research ties between the bureau and the academic community, including the University of Michigan.”

He will assume his duties in September. A three-year assignment is anticipated, with Little continuing to devote some time to research and teaching at U-M.

In accepting the position, Little becomes the latest link in a longstanding connection between U-M’s Ann Arbor campus and the Census Bureau. Groves is the former head of ISR’s Survey Research Center and the third Ann Arborite to serve as census director. Barbara Everitt Bryant held the post from 1989-93, and Martha Farnsworth Riche served in that position from 1994-98.

Little received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cambridge University, and master’s and doctorate degrees in statistics from Imperial College London. Before his appointment at Michigan, he held faculty appointments at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Chicago, and non-academic positions as an American Statistical Association/National Science Foundation research fellow at the Census Bureau, a consultant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a scientific associate at the World Fertility Survey. He was coordinating and applications editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association from 1992-94.

Little is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and a fellow of the American Statistical Association. This year he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently is vice president of the American Statistical Association.