International Year of Statistics Kicks Off
Jeffrey A. Myers, ASA Public Relations Coordinator
The ASA and more than 1,400 organizations in 109 countries last month kicked off the International Year of Statistics (Statistics2013), a worldwide initiative promoting the contributions of the statistics field to finding solutions to global challenges. The goals of this awareness campaign are to do the following:
- Increase public understanding of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of society
- Nurture statistics as a profession, especially among high-school and college students
- Promote creativity and development in the sciences of probability and statistics
Statistics2013 participants include national and international professional societies, universities, schools, businesses, government agencies, and research institutes in countries ranging from Algeria to Iran and North Korea to Vietnam. These groups are helping millions of people around the world understand the value of statistical science through seminars, workshops, and outreach to students and the media.
The campaign’s primary message to lay audiences is that statistics is much more than numbers on sports pages. “Statistical science has powerful and far-reaching effects on everyone, yet most people are unaware of how it improves their lives,” says ASA Executive Director Ronald L. Wasserstein.
“For most people, statistics is an invisible science,” continues Wasserstein. “Through this yearlong, worldwide awareness campaign, we will remove the veil that cloaks statistics from the public consciousness.”
In addition, the campaign is targeting high-school and college students with the message that statistics is a growing, diverse, and rewarding career field.
“Our world is increasingly data-rich and data-dependent and therefore all types of businesses and government agencies need statisticians to analyze this data,” explains Wasserstein. “As a result, the demand for statisticians is growing by leaps and bounds and the trend shows no sign of weakening.
“Throughout 2013, we will introduce students to careers in statistics and open their eyes to the bountiful opportunities that await them,” says Wasserstein.
Central features of the campaign are its website and an informative two-and-a-half-minute video—“Why Statistics Is Important to You”—that explains how statistics improves the lives of the world’s 7 billion people.
The public website, launched January 1, includes the following:
- What Is Statistics?—An explanation in layman’s language
- Stats2013AtSchool—A statistics quiz for students
- Statistics as a Career—Information about the work of statisticians and careers in statistics
- Educational Resources—Teaching aids for elementary and high-school teachers, including the Census At School program
- Informational Resources—A downloadable flyer and posters
- Participant Area—A dedicated section with a calendar of activities, roster of participating organizations, and other helpful resources
The launch of Statistics2013 was hailed in social media circles by ASA members and other statisticians around the world. “Who says that statisticians are never certain about anything? I’m 100% sure 2013 is the International Year of Statistics!” wrote akc1970 on Twitter.
The ASA joins the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, International Biometric Society, International Statistical Institute (and the Bernoulli Society), and Royal Statistical Society as founding organizations of Statistics2013.
Go to the “Statisics2013 Global Supporters” section to learn how to get involved in promoting statistics in your community.