The University Record, September 5, 2000

Photo Stories: Kish honored for decades of service

Statistician Leslie Kish celebrated his 90th birthday this summer at an event hosted by the Institute for Social Research (ISR). Kish is shown here cutting a ‘sampling’ cake with his handy Swiss Army knife.

Though an emeritus professor and research scientist, Kish is still hard at work, consulting on multinational survey design and helping solve sampling problems from Cape Town to Beijing.

Over the years, Kish has trained two generations of survey researchers from more than 100 countries, with many of his students going on to head national census and statistical agencies or top-flight private polling firms.

Kish’s 1965 book, ‘Survey Sampling,’ still in print, is widely considered the ‘bible’ of the field. One of the first proponents of annual rolling samples, Kish is the originator of many of the technical procedures and methodological innovations that make contemporary surveys, censuses and political polls so accurate.

The superiority of probability sampling as the method of choice for polls and surveys of all kinds was dramatically established in the 1948 presidential election. While the ‘Chicago Tribune’ proclaimed Dewey the victor, a small national probability sample of U.S. households drawn by Kish and his U-M colleagues correctly identified Truman as the winner. Photo by Bill Wood, U-M Photo Services