Former census director available to discuss Supreme Court decision

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Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


Amy McCaig

Former census director available to discuss Supreme Court decision

HOUSTON – (June 27, 2019) – The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected President Donald Trump’s bid to add a citizenship question to the next census. Former U.S. Census Bureau Director Steve Murdock, an emeritus professor of sociology at Rice University, is available to discuss the topic.



“I think today’s decision reflects some important issues related to censuses and the usage of those counts,” Murdock said. “Historically, the census’ major purpose has been to determine how many U.S. representatives were awarded to each state, and this continues to be the case. This has always involved a count of all persons who are residents of the United States. For some of the census activities, citizenship was not something that was taken into account because services had to be provided to all people residing in the U.S.”

In large, diverse states such as Texas and California, Murdock said the number of people who would choose not to respond to the census if it included a citizenship question would likely be substantial.

“Hence, the purpose of determining the number of representatives for all people residing in the U.S. would be influenced by representing only the number of citizens in the U.S,” he said.

Murdock served as the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Professor of Sociology at Rice before retiring and becoming an emeritus professor of sociology at the end of the spring 2019 semester. He served as census director after being nominated for the position by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2007. He held the office until the change in administration in January 2009.

Murdock also served as the first state demographer of Texas, appointed to the position by then-Gov. Rick Perry. He is the author or editor of 15 books and more than 150 articles and technical reports on the implications of current and future demographic and socioeconomic changes. For more information on Murdock, visit

To schedule an interview with Murdock, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 217-417-2901 or

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.


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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.