Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

In Memory of Katherine Wallman

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Sadly, we recently learned of the passing of Katherine Wallman, former Chief Statistician of the United States. Katherine served as the Chief Statistician from 1992 until her retirement in 2017, a period of considerable change in the U.S. statistical system. Among the key accomplishments during that period were the enactment of the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 and the release of Statistical Policy Directive No. 1 on the Fundamental Responsibilities of Federal Statistical Agencies. Katherine’s legacy continues as these landmark initiatives were both reaffirmed by the passage of the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act of 2018.

Many people and organizations have shared their glowing memories of Katherine and her important contributions. We link to some of these remembrances at the bottom of this blog. As for her interactions with BLS, two things come to mind. First was her strong interest in working with statistical officials worldwide to share best practices and improve data quality and international data comparability. While I’m sure she enjoyed her international travels and the relationships she built, she was truly interested in improving international statistical collaboration. She encouraged staff from BLS and other U.S. statistical agencies to work with colleagues around the world by serving on committees and authoring or commenting on reports, initiatives, and proposals. Her tireless energy helped to move the international statistical community forward.

Photo of Katherine Wallman

Katherine Wallman speaks at the Labor Hall of Honor induction of former Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioners Carroll D. Wright and Janet L. Norwood on October 20, 2015, at the United States Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.

Closer to home, as head of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy, Katherine held court once a month at meetings of statistical agency heads in the Janet Norwood Conference and Training Center at BLS. Woe to anyone arriving late for the meeting, as Katherine would always save the seat right next to her and motion the laggard to that seat. On several occasions when there was heightened interest in BLS data, Katherine used the meetings for professional—but stern—interrogation of BLS staff. The meetings always ended though with a smile and warm wishes for her colleagues.

You can read more about Katherine’s achievements and legacy from a variety of organizations, many of which she either worked at or contributed to during her remarkable career:

International Statistical Institute

American Statistical Association

Association of Public Data Users