Barbara Everitt Bryant
2007 Warren E. Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences
Barbara Everitt Bryant is Research Scientist Emerita at the University of Michigan School of Business, and recently retired as Managing Director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) within the National Quality Research Center at the U-M Business School. Her career in public opinion, basic and applied demographics, and marketing has spanned nearly forty years, and has included stints in both the private and public spheres. From 1970-1989, she held positions with Market Opinion Research (now MORPACE, International) in Detroit, where she directed major national survey projects. Included among the latter were three surveys for U.S. Presidential commissions: the President's Commission on Observance of International Women's year (President Ford), the President's Commission on World Hunger (President Carter), and the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors (President Reagan).
Dr. Bryant resigned as Senior Vice President at Market Opinion Research in 1989 to become Director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce. She was the first woman Director in the Bureau's 200-year history, and directed the 1990 decennial Census. While generally praised for its accuracy, this Census (like previous modern censuses in the U.S.) struggled with the problem of an undercount of minority population groups. Under Bryant's leadership, Bureau statisticians devised scientific means of adjusting the 1990 Census figures for undercount; Bryant endorsed these methods (which became politically controversial), and oversaw the production of adjusted 1990 Census figures. Ultimately, the Secretary of Commerce refused to officially release the adjusted counts and disapproved of their use in Federal and state population-driven programs and entitlements. (Bryant directed that a copy of these adjusted 1990 Census figures be deposited with ICPSR, for preservation as part of the historical record.)
Bryant served as Census Director until 1993, when she returned to Michigan to become Research Scientist at the University of Michigan. Her contributions to the social sciences are prodigious, as enumerated in three books and dozens of scientific articles. Her public service positions have included a vice presidency of the American Marketing Association, membership on the Board of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (1993-2001), and as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. She has contributed as a guest lecturer in ICPSR's Summer Training Workshops on the Decennial Census, and initiated the archiving of the ACSI surveys with ICPSR.