US Counts on TX Demographer to Lead Census

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate's confirmed a Texas demographer to head the Census Bureau as it approaches the 2010 count.

By a voice vote Wednesday, senators confirmed Texas State Demographer Steven Murdock as new census director. Lawmakers praised Murdock as an accomplished academic whom they expect to lead the bureau without White House political interference.

Murdock's director of the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He earned a doctorate in demography and sociology form the University of Kentucky.

He succeeds another Texan, statistician Louis Kincannon, as head of the agency responsible for counting the nation's population every 10 years. The count, which is required by the Constitution, is used to apportion House seats among the states and to divvy up billions of dollars in federal aid each year.

Kincannon resigned 13 months ago, saying he felt that he had lost the confidence of the Commerce Department, which oversees the bureau. Kincannon agreed to stay on the job until his successor was confirmed. President Bush nominated Murdock in June.