Photo of Robert Rhatigan

Robert Rhatigan

  • Director



  • M.A. (Applied Geography), University of Colorado, 2008
  • B.A. (Environmental Science), State University of New York, 1998


Robert Rhatigan is the Director of UNM’s Geospatial and Population Studies Center and the New Mexico State Demographer. He is the state’s liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau through the Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates and serves as an elected member of the Steering Committee. In 2017, Governor Susanna Martinez appointed Robert as state liaison to the Local Update of Census Addresses program, and in 2019 he was appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham to serve on the New Mexico 2020 Complete Count Commission. Robert previously chaired the Federal-State Cooperative for Population Projections and served on a National Academies of Science working group dedicated to improving the quality of the 2020 Census. In 2021, Robert served as a member of the New Mexico Citizen’s Redistricting Committee as an independent voter appointed by the New Mexico State Ethics Commission.

As director of UNM-GPS, Robert oversees the Demographic Research Unit, Traffic Research Unit and Information Technology team. Before being appointed director in 2019, he oversaw the development of demographic geodatabases used to track and analyze births, deaths, migration, building permits and other demographic indicators for the State of New Mexico.

Robert joined UNM-GPS in 2013 with extensive experience in GIS, data analysis and technical communication. He previously worked as an environmental specialist for Texas’s largest rural development grant administration and as a private consultant in Colorado. As a graduate student, Robert worked as a GIS analyst for US Trail Maps Inc., where he developed digital recreational trail maps for handheld GPS devices. He also has a broad background in information technology, having served as a systems administrator for IBM and a successful tech start-up. Robert’s written publications include "Working and Living USA," a guide for immigrants to the United States.