Ronald Freedman founded the center, with the support of the Ford Foundation, as a unit within the Department of Sociology. Freedman, the first director, aimed to create a place where demographers could work together and train students in population studies. In 1966, PSC formed close ties with the Department of Economics, solidifying a growing focus on socioeconomic research.
Sampling Program for Foreign Statisticians
In an early move to deepen ISR’s engagement with the international community, Leslie Kish founded an intensive eight-week summer program to offer graduate coursework to survey statisticians from developing nations. During its 48-year history, the program has trained more than 500 samplers from some 105 countries.