News Release

Contact: Jim Barrett, (202) 690-8124

Small Area Estimation is Topic of 28th Annual Morris Hansen Lecture

WASHINGTON, September 30, 2019 – The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will host the Annual Morris Hansen Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 30 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Jefferson Auditorium. Guests should enter through the fifth wing doors, which are between 12th and 14th Streets on Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC. It is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Malay Ghosh is the featured presenter. A distinguished professor at the University of Florida, Ghosh will give a presentation entitled “Small Area Estimation: Its Evolution in Five Decades.” His presentation will trace the evolution of small area estimation and will touch on some of the most salient small area estimation methods.

When a survey has been carried out for the population as a whole (for example, a nation or statewide survey), the sample size within any particular small area may be too small to generate accurate estimates from the data. To deal with this problem, it is imperative to borrow strength (information) from similar other areas to attain the prescribed accuracy of the estimates. The need for such small area estimates is felt by both the public and private sectors. In the public sector, such estimates are often mandated by national and state governments.

Ghosh will be joined by discussants J.N.K. Rao, distinguished research professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Carleton University; and Julie Gershunskaya, Mathematical Statistician, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ghosh is well known for his research in nonparametric inference, sequential analysis, decision theory, Bayesian statistics and small-area estimation. As a recognition of his seminal contributions, Ghosh served from 1996 to 2001 in the United States Census Advisory Committee. He has co-authored two books and more than 250 research publications.

The Morris Hansen Lecture series is one of many public education and outreach activities in which USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service participates each year. The Washington Statistical Society established the lecture series to honor Morris Hansen and his pioneering contributions to survey sampling and related statistical methods during his long and distinguished career at the U.S. Census Bureau. The event is sponsored by the Washington Statistical Society, the National Agricultural Statistics Service and Westat Inc.

More information is available at


NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).