Stefano Franscini was born in Bodio (Ticino) in 1796 and died in Bern in 1857. He is deservedly described as the father of Swiss statistics, although his diverse activities and numerous interests mean that the importance of his work far exceeded his passion as a statistician. Franscini was a teacher, social reformer, historian, ethnologist as well as a dedicated individual and statesman. In 1848 he became a Member of the first Federal Council. He had a great influence on the canton of his birth and on the history of Switzerland from the 19th century onwards.
The first federal census
Most notably Franscini planned and conducted almost single-handedly the first federal population census in 1850 and played a significant role in the founding of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He was also influential in the establishment in 1860 of today’s Federal Statistical Office.