B.A., Southern Methodist University, 1958; M.A., Washington University, 1959, Harvard Divinity School, 1960, as a Danforth fellow; Ph.D., in political science, Stanford University, 1963.
Kenneth Prewitt is the Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He has taught at the University of Chicago (1965–82) as an assistant, associate, and full professor. He has also taught at Stanford University, Washington University, the University of Nairobi, and Makerere University (Uganda) and was the dean of the Graduate Faculty at the New School University (2001–2002).
Prewitt has had a long professional career outside the classroom. Previous positions include director of the United States Census Bureau (1998–2001), director of the National Opinion Research Center, president of the Social Science Research Council, and senior vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Russell-Sage Foundation, and member of other professional associations, including the Council on Foreign Relations. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, honorary degrees from Carnegie Mellon and Southern Methodist University, a Distinguished Service Award from the New School for Social Research, various awards associated with his directorship of the Census Bureau, and in 1990 he was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany.
Prewitt's publications include Politics and Science in Census Taking (2003), Introduction to American Government (6th edition, 1991), and "The U. S. Decennial Census: Political Questions, Scientific Answers" in the Population and Development Review. He has authored and coauthored a dozen books and more than 100 articles and book chapters. He is currently completing a historical study of the tortured consequences of the nation's official racial classification from 1790 to the present.