Alexis Santos, assistant professor of human development and family studies and co-funded faculty member in the Social Science Research Institute at Penn State, has been appointed to the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee (NAC). The committee considers issues related to hard-to-reach populations, including aging populations, new immigrant populations, those affected by natural disasters, and those with limited access to technology, as well as issues of race, ethnicity, and language.
“Research has shown that Census counts have historically excluded or undercounted some racially and ethnically minoritized populations. The first order of business for this committee is to provide input on how to reach those populations in the next Census and other data collection efforts. Once we reach them, we have to be sure that they are providing accurate information concerning their characteristics,” Santos said. “There is a lot of work happening even now to make sure the 2030 Census is deployed with special care in reaching those populations that are traditionally undercounted.”
For Santos, the three-year appointment is particularly relevant to his work in demography, which is focused on generating accurate estimates and projections based on data related to human populations.
“Part of my ongoing work, funded by the National Institute of Children and Human Development, studies the level of utility of Census data, in an effort to ensure that the public can use and rely on it. Ultimately, the data is not usable if it does not accurately reflect who the people are and where they are located,” he said.
“It’s an honor to join this group of fantastic scholars and stakeholders who will be providing advice to the Census,” Santos continued. “I’m excited to provide my perspective as someone who relies on this data for their work.”