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The Country Can't Afford a Top-Level Vacancy at the Census

The resignation of Census Bureau director John Thompson leaves the agency in a lurch at a sensitive time in the run-up to the 2020 Census.
A development in Las Vegas
A development in Las VegasJason Reed/Reuters

John Thompson picked a hell of a day to quit.

The director of the U.S. Census Bureau since 2013 and a career Census bureaucrat, Thompson resigned on Tuesday, just as the news of FBI Director James Comey’s firing engulfed the nation. Given the timing, Thompson’s resignation will no doubt go overlooked. But the country can’t afford to underestimate the vacancy that his departure will leave.