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Roberto Bachi

BACHI, ROBERTO (1909–1995) statistician and demographer. Bachi was born in Rome and completed his studies in law and statistics at the University of Rome. He taught statistics in various universities in Italy and was appointed full professor in 1937. In 1938 he emigrated to Palestine soon after the decree of the Racial Laws by Fascist Italy. He worked as a statistician in the Hadassah Medical Organization, and during 1945–47 in the Department of Statistics of the Mandatory Government. From the early 1940s he taught statistics at the Hebrew University and was appointed full professor in 1947.

With the foundation of the State of Israel Bachi was appointed government statistician. He founded Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, which he directed until 1971, and was responsible for its independent status and academic integrity. He was among the founders of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Hebrew University and served as its first dean (1953–56). During the 1950s he headed the Department of Statistics and Demography and in 1959–60 he was pro-rector of the Hebrew University. In 1960 Bachi founded the Department of Demography and Statistics at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry of the Hebrew University, which became an international center. He devoted much attention to the practical implications of demographic studies, which are of vital importance to the Jewish people throughout the world. Under Prime Ministers Ben Gurion and Eshkol he chaired a committee on Israel's demographic policy. Bachi taught generations of students, many of whom have long occupied prominent positions in academic institutions. After his retirement in 1977 he concentrated on the two fields of methodological research, which occupied him throughout his life – geostatistics and graphical representation of statistical data. He developed innovative methods for reducing vast quantities of geographical-statistical data and their graphic representation in computerized maps. His most important work, summarizing these methods, was published posthumously: New Methods of Geostatistical Analysis and Graphical Presentation: Distribution of Populations over Territories (1999). Bachi published a large number of works, including: La Mobilità della Popolazione all'interno delle grandi Città Europee (Rome, 1933), Graphical Rational Patterns (Jerusalem, 1968), Population Trends of World Jewry (Jerusalem, 1976), and The Population of Israel (Jerusalem, 1977). He was member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and honorary member of the American Statistical Society.


Scritti in onore di Roberto Bachi (1950); U.O. Schmelz and G. Nathan, Studies in the Population of Israel in Honor of Roberto Bachi (1986); "Roberto Bachi: A Selected Bibliography," in: Scripta Hierosolymitana, 30 (1986), 417–24; S. Della Pergola and N. Gad, "Le-Zekher Roberto Bachi," in: Ma'adei ha-Yahadut, 36 (1996), 187–89.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.