Steve Murdock, Texas scholar who headed Census Bureau, dies

HOUSTON (AP) – Steve Murdock, a former state demographer of Texas who served one year as the director of the U.S. Census Bureau, during which he helped keep the 2010 census on track, has died. He was 75.

Murdock died last Friday, according to Rice University in Houston, where he spent nearly a decade until his retirement in 2019.

After being nominated to head the nation’s largest statistical agency by President George W. Bush, Murdock served in the job from January 2008 to January 2009, when he vacated the position with a change in administrations following the election of President Barack Obama.

“When he accepted the job, Dr. Murdock knew that it would only be for one year until a new president took over and made his own appointee – a terrific example of someone who puts public service above personal gain or personal needs,” Robert Santos, the current director of the Census Bureau, said in a statement.

Murdock was the first state demographer of Texas from 2001 to 2007. He also headed the Texas State Data Center and Texas Population Estimates and Projections Program for more than 25 years, helping coordinate the state’s mobilization for the census in 1980, 1990 and 2000.

Murdock wrote dozens of books and articles about Texas’ changing demographic characteristics.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Zey, and a stepson.

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