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Dominique Waltisperger left us on 29 September, after a long illness. IUSSP member since 1980, French sociologist and demographer (IDUP,) and above all methodologist and Africanist, Dominque worked to improve our knowledge of population matters using his talents for the benefit of numerous national and international organizations: ORSTOM (today IRD), INSEE, INED, CEPED, Université de Paris VI, the Ministry of labor, DARES, Department of Demography at the Catholic University of Louvain but also national statistical offices in Algeria, the OECD, UNICEF, the World Bank, and IUSSP, the list is too long to include them all here.

 

His first publications in the 1970s focused primarily on Africa and the collection and analysis of demographic data, notably in the area of mortality. He also paid attention to trends in France with a notable interest in elderly population projections, and later, labour conditions.

 

He defended his thesis in 1980 on a topic that preoccupied him for the duration of his career: the analysis of defective data for mortality estimation.  With Julien Condé and Michèle Fleury-Brousse, he started, for the OECD, the monumental task of reassembling the analysis of mortality data in developing countries that resulted in a new generation of life tables that took into account the specifics of survival in the tropics.

 

His second great passion was his work on mortality and causes of death using data generated by the civil registration system in Madagascar, which produced quasi complete data for the big cities coupled with good-quality information on causes of death.  The initiative was inspired and strongly supported by Pierre Cantrell and resulted in articles on the epidemiological transition in Antananarivo and on the economic crisis and mortality published with France Meslé, Bruno Masquelier and Gilles Pison.  

 

Parallel to his research, Dominique Waltisperger also contributed to training, teaching at French Universities (Paris,I, V, and VI),  the summer school at Louvain-la-Neuve, and at IUSSP training workshops in Bamako, Bordeaux, and Yaoundé, as well as through his publications, such as the well-known Manuel de Yaoundé on indirect methods of estimation.

He was a colleague and fine friend; his disappearance leaves a void.

Liberally translated from Jacque Vallin’s homage

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