Born in 1923, Jorge Somoza graduated from the Facultad de Ciencias Económicas of the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1948 and became a chartered actuary the same year. His first professional job was that of Deputy Director at the Technical Department of the Instituto Nacional de Reaseguros in Buenos Aires. He then worked as an actuary for the Compañía Argentina de Seguros. In April 1956 he joined the Population Branch of the united Nations in New York as demographer. From 1957 until his retirement in 1983, he worked for the united Nations in Chile, first as a demographer in the Economic Commission for Latin America and then in CELADE ( the Latin American Demographic Center) of which he later became Deputy Director.
Jorge Somoza has had a distinguished career as a demographer and his influence in the training of Latin American demographers has been vast. During his years at CELADE he taught a multiplicity of courses and thus influenced the training of many of the demographers now working in Latin America and the Caribbean. He made major contributions to the advancement of demographic measurement and data collection procedures. He played a crucial role in expanding the use of indirect estimation techniques in Latin America, especially by providing technical advice in the design and analysis of demographic surveys and censuses. He made a significant contribution in the analysis and dissemination of the results of demographic surveys in the region, including those conducted in Bolivia, Honduras and Perú during the 1970’s, some of which broke new ground in terms of the methodology being applied. His scientific Publicationshave been numerous and cover a variety of subjects, ranging from the analysis of mortality and fertility in Argentina starting in the XIX century to methods of indirect estimation of emigration. Through his work and other professional activities, Jorge Somoza has contributed greatly to the development of demographic tools and research in Latin America. His work regarding indirect demographic estimation has been especially influential.
His contributions to the work of the IUSSP have also been outstanding. He contributed greatly to the success of the work undertaken by the Working Group on the Methodology for the Study of International Migration - of which he was the Chairman - by launching the IMILA project (the best example of exchange of international migration statistics in the Americas) and by making possible the testing of indirect estimation techniques in a number of experimental surveys. He also has been a member of the IUSSP Committee on Historical Demography from 1982 to 1986 and a member of the IUSSP Council from 1985 to 1989.
After his retirement, Jorge Somoza remained an active researcher at CENEP (Center for Population Studies) in Buenos Aires and continued to be engaged in testing new methods for the estimation and measurement of demographic phenomena.