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1996 Hansen Lecture

Joseph Waksberg, Westat, Inc.
"The Hansen Era: Statistical Research at the Census Bureau, 1940-1970"
Journal of Official Statistics, 14(2), pp.119-135, 1998.

Opening remarks: Daniel Levine, Consultant.

Margo Anderson, U. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Robert Groves, Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM), U. of Maryland-U. of Michigan-Westat.

Abstract: Joseph Waksberg will describe the development of sampling theory and related survey methods at the Bureau of the Census from about 1940 to 1970. The research carried out during this period of time and its application to survey methodology have profoundly affected current approaches to survey-taking. The talk will discuss the principal research findings, the milieu and context in which the research was carried out, the main participants, the original motivation for the direction of the research and later influences, and the effect of research on methods used for censuses and sample surveys. There will also be a brief review of the first applications of computers to statistical work carried out at the Census Bureau. Mr. Waksberg will provide some personal reminiscences which illustrate the fact that the mathematical statistician on a project needs to pay attention to broader issues in a survey than sampling methods along, e.g., to cost, other sources of error, the management structure of the organization, expected data uses, and alternative survey methods that are available.