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Leslie Kish (born László Kiss, July 27, 1910 – October 7, 2000) was a Hungarian-American statistician and survey methodologist.[1]

Leslie Kish
Leslie Kish.jpg
Kish in 1960
Born(1910-07-27)July 27, 1910
DiedOctober 7, 2000(2000-10-07) (aged 90)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
City College of New York
Known forKish grid
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Michigan
Military Service
Allegiance Spanish Republic
Service/branchEmblem of the International Brigades.svg International Brigades
UnitThe "Abraham Lincoln" XV International Brigade
Battles/warsSpanish Civil War


Life and careerEdit

Kish emigrated with his family to the USA in 1925. His father soon died, and Kish helped support the family by working while continuing his studies in the evenings. In 1937 he volunteered for the International Brigade to fight against Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. He saw action in a Hungarian battalion, was wounded, and returned to the United States in 1939.[2] In 1939, he finished his baccalaureate in mathematics at the City College of New York.[1]

He worked at the U.S. Bureau of the Census from 1940 until 1941, when he moved to the Division of Program Surveys of the Department of Agriculture. For the remainder of World War II he served as a meteorologist in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war he returned to the Department of Agriculture, but in 1947 he joined the University of Michigan faculty.[1] He moved to the University of Michigan as a member of the newly created Survey Research Center, which in 1949 became a unit of the new Institute for Social Research (ISR). While working full-time, Kish received an M.A. in mathematical statistics in 1948 and a Ph.D. in sociology in 1952. He became a lecturer at the University of Michigan in 1951, an Associate Professor in 1956, a professor in 1960 and professor emeritus in 1981".[3]

Awards and honorsEdit

In 1997, the American Statistical Association gave Kish their Wilks Memorial Award. The award citation read: "For being a truly outstanding statistician, who has had a profound influence on sample survey practice throughout the world. His originality and ability to provide practical solutions to real-world statistical problems illuminate his extensive writings; a notable example is his classic text Survey Sampling, which is widely consulted and referenced by practitioners of statistics everywhere. His wisdom and guidance have benefited countless colleagues and students from America and abroad. For his remarkable work as an applied statistician in consistently using his knowledge and insight for the benefit of society. At the Survey Research center of the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan, he has been a leader in many areas — administration, intellectual creativity, research, training, and mentorship. His influential role in the World Fertility Survey further illustrates his impact as an international ambassador of statistics and a tireless advocate for scientific statistical methods. For being a humanitarian and true citizen of the world. His unmatched concern for those living in less fortunate circumstances and his use of the statistical profession to help is an inspiration for all statisticians".[4]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Kish, Leslie. Statistical Design for Research. New York: Wiley. 1987. ISBN 978-0471083597.
  • Kish, Leslie (1965), Survey Sampling, New York: Wiley. ISBN 978-0471109495.
  • Kish, L. (1949), "A Procedure for Objective Respondent Selection within the Household", Journal of the American Statistical Association, 44: 380–387, doi:10.2307/2280236, JSTOR 2280236. On the basis of this paper, Kish's name is associated with the Kish grid.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Fellegi, Ivan, Statisticians in History: Leslie Kish 1910–2000, American Statistical Association. Reprint of an obituary from International Statistical Institute (ISI) Newsletter, Volume 25, No. 73.
  2. ^ Obituary by Eric Pace, "Leslie Kish, 90; Improved Science of Surveys", The New York Times, October 14, 2000
  3. ^ Quotation from "Leslie Kish," listed among "Notable Alumni" on the webpage of the U.S. Census Bureau. [retrieved August 19, 2014]
  4. ^ Samuel S. Wilks Award webpage at Also reported in Amstat News, October 1997, No. 246, p. 7.

External linksEdit