Walter M. Perkins, 65, who retired after 35 years as a government statistician, died Aug. 26 at Prince George's General Hospital after a heart attack.

Dr. Perkins spent the last 15 years of his government career with the Census Bureau, and retired in 1972 as an assistant division chief for methods and development.

He then worked as a consultant to the government of Saudi Arabia during that country's 1974 census. He was a statistical consultant to Westat Inc., a Rockville firm, at the time of his death.

Dr. Perkins was a native of Waterville, Maine. He earned a bachelor's degree at Rollins College and a doctorate in sociology and statistics at the University of Wisconsin.

He came to Washington in 1938 and worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare before joining the Census Bureau in 1957.

He was a member of the American Statistical Association and had published technical articles on such topics as sampling methods and surveys and evaluation techniques.

Dr. Perkins was a member of the Washington Friends Meeting.

Survivors include his wife, Ellen, of the home in Cheverly; three sons, David, of Morenci, Ariz. Toby and Philip, both of Baltimore; a daughter, Paula, of Baltimore; two sisters, Margaret Seller and Ruth Perkins, both of Watertown, Mass., and five grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, 19102, or to an animal protection society.