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Kirk Wolter

Pronouns: He/Him

Principal Statistical Advisor & Distinguished Senior Fellow
Kirk is an internationally recognized expert in survey statistics and methods.

Kirk is the principal statistical advisor and distinguished senior fellow in the Statistics & Data Science department at NORC. He is responsible for the methods of design and analysis used in NORC proposals and projects and for the NORC corporate research and development enterprise. He is also a Professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Chicago.

Kirk is the author of the book Introduction to Variance Estimation, which is widely read and cited  around the world by survey practitioners and theoreticians, and of dozens of journal articles, including “Reliability of the Uncertified Ballots in the 2000 Presidential Election in Florida,” The American Statistician, 2003 (with Jergovic, D., Moore, W., Murphy, J., and O’Muircheartaigh, C.).

Kirk has led or participated in designing many of America’s largest and most important information systems, including the Current Business Surveys, the Current Employment Statistics program, the Current Population Survey, the 1980 and 1990 Decennial Censuses of Population and Housing, the Consumer Price Index, the Economic Censuses, the National Resources Inventory, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, and the National Immunization Survey. He also led the conversion of major market research surveys to scanning-based methods, both in America and in many parts of Western Europe.

Before joining NORC in 1994, Kirk was Vice President, Statistical Design Worldwide for the A.C. Nielsen Co., where he had executive accountability for statistical methodology in 30 countries. Before he joined Nielsen, Kirk worked for 14 years at the U.S. Census Bureau, culminating in his role as Chief of the Statistical Research Division. There he led research programs in areas such as statistics, mathematics, geographic information systems, computer technology, and various social science disciplines. Concurrent with the Census post, Kirk served as Adjunct Professor at George Washington University. From 2002 to 2003, he founded and directed the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for Survey Science at Iowa State University.

Kirk is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, a past President of the International Association of Survey Statisticians, and a past Chair of the Survey Research Methods Section of the American Statistical Association.

Project Contributions

2024 National Survey of Early Care and Education

Examining early care and education after major disruption


Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services

National Immunization Surveys (NIS)

One of the nation’s largest phone surveys and the gold standard for data on U.S. immunization rates


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Support for Analytic Capacity of NSECE Data

Enhancing the analytic capacity of the NSECE’s public-use and restricted-use data


Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services