Who Is Nate Silver of 538? 5 Facts To Know About The American Statistician

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There just might not be anybody in the world today who is as well versed in the fields of statistics and literature as Nate Silver has proven to be. The statistician and writer, who founded and serves as the editor-in-chief of the FiveThirtyEight (538) website, is best known for developing the forecasting system PECOTA and for correctly predicting the outcome of the 2012 U.S elections.

Who is Nate Silver of 538?

Nate Silver was born Nathaniel Read Silver to Sally (née Thrun) and Brian David Silver on the 13th of January 1978 in East Lansing, Michigan. His mother, who is of English and German descent, was a community activist while his father is a former chair of Michigan State University’s Political Science Department.

As the story goes, Silver, from a very young age, showed great proficiency in math. He was also a huge baseball fan while growing up which made it very easy for him to apply his math skills in calculating baseball stats such as batting averages. While attending East Lansing High School, Silver notably won first place at the 49th annual John S. Knight Scholarship Contest for senior high school debaters in the State of Michigan. During this time, he also wrote and edited the opinion page of his high school newspaper, The Portrait.

After leaving high school in 1996, Nate Silver enrolled at the University of Chicago to study Economics. During this time, he wrote for the Chicago Weekly News and the Chicago Maroon before spending his third year at the London School of Economics. In 2000, Silver graduated with an honors Bachelor of Arts degree and immediately took a job as a transfer pricing consultant with KPMG in Chicago.

5 Facts To Know About The American Statistician

  • He Developed PECOTA

PECOTA is a sabermetric system for forecasting Major League Baseball players performances and careers. While working for KPMG, a job which Nate Silver has since described as his worst ever, he developed the baseball empirical analysis system with the main purpose of helping fans interested in fantasy baseball and for coaches and executives trying to predict the performance and valuation of players.

Silver later sold the system to Baseball Prospectus (BP) for a partnership stake in the company. In April 2004, he decided to quit KPMG to assume the position of Executive Vice-President at BP as he further developed his system to analyze a broad range of topics. He also went on to become a writer on the company’s website, contributing a weekly column titled “Lies, Damned Lies”.

  • He is a Published Author

In addition to his blog writing and contributions to other mainstream publications like The New York Times, ESPN.com, and Sports Illustrated, Nate Silver is a published author. In 2012, he published the book, “The Signal and The Noise” which made it onto the New York Times Best Sellers List and became the second-best seller on Amazon.com.

  • Election Predictions

The Statistian who identifies as a semi-professional poker player and has competed in a World Series of Poker tornament, correctly predicted the winner of the 2012 United States presidential election in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.


  • He is Openly Gay

Nate Silver is openly gay and is widely considered to be a “gay icon”. It is not clear when exactly Silver began to identify as gay, however, the statistician and writer has extensively written about gay rights on his FiveThirtyEight website, putting forward statistics and arguments on how and why gay marriage, among other gay rights, has taken so long to come along.

  • Awards, Recognition, and Honorary Degrees

Nate Silver has received numerous awards and recognition from reputable bodies and institutions in and outside the United States. His first award was presented to him in 2008 by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University which selected his FiveThirtyEight blog as the first ever for the Notable Narrative Award. In 2009, Time Magazine named him one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” and in 2010, he was named in the top 100 LGBT People of the Year by LGBT magazine, Out, which in 2012, further named him as the Person of the Year.

Regarding his honorary degrees, Silver received the first in 2013 from Ripon College which gave him an honorary Doctor of Science degree. A few days later, he received his second one from The New School who gave him an honorary Doctor of Literature degree. As of 2018, Silver has six honorary doctoral degrees to his name.

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