Members’ News

Katherine K. Wallman, former Chief Statistician of the United States

22 January 2024
in memoriam

With great sorrow, it is conveyed that Katherine K. Wallman passed away on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at the age of 80. Katherine Wallman, the retired chief statistician of the United States, and a critical leader within among others OECD - OCDE, United Nations, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, IAOS, American Statistical Association - ASA and International Statistical Institute - ISI. She was a giant in the statistical community and a cherished friend to many. The loss of her leadership and wisdom is deeply felt.

Katherine Wallman

Those who had the privilege of knowing Katherine undoubtedly miss not only her guidance and sagacity but also the warmth of her friendship. Her candid nature and delightfully offbeat sense of humor added a unique and cherished dimension to her relationships.

Katherine Wallman, twice honored as a Presidential Meritorious Executive, was an elected member of the International Statistical Institute - ISI, a fellow of both the American Statistical Association - ASA Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a founding member of the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS). In 1992, she served as ASA president, and in 2007, she was honored with the association’s Founders Award.

She was honored with the Robert G. Damus Award for significant, sustained contributions to the integrity and excellence of OMB (Office of Management and Budget)(2009) and the Population Association of America’s Excellence in Public Service Award (2011). At the international level, Wallman served as chair of the UN Statistical Commission during 2004 and 2005; as chair of the Conference of European Statisticians, UN Economic Commission for Europe, from 2003 to 2007; and as a vice-chair of the Statistics Committee, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development from 2009 to 2011.

As Walter J. Radermacher, Former President of the German Federal Statistical Office and Former Director General of Eurostat, describes: “For me, Katherine was one of the few outstanding personalities in the international (official) statistics community. In her long professional career, she initiated and promoted many improvements and developments, both nationally and internationally.

She achieved all this with her very special personality: collegiality, curiosity, profound knowledge of the subject, humor, and closeness to the people around her. I miss her.”