The study of population processes is critical to understanding the world around us.  Births, deaths, household formation, and migration remain crucial indicators of social change.  The study of population covers not only basic measurements of population change, but also analysis of the roots and ramifications of those changes.

Sociologists approach the study of population by focusing on the social processes and implications of demographic change.  If the public hears that the marriage is waning as an institution, sociologists of population will seek not only to define a marriage rate, but ask how adequate it is for measuring family formation and examine what social factors make it change. They apply a similar lens to fertility, mortality, migration and the processes that cause variation in their occurrence. To address such questions, graduate training in the population cluster focuses on grounding students in both sociological theory and statistical methodology.

Examples of faculty research in population:

  • The role of marriage and children in creating gender wage inequality
  • New estimations of the unauthorized immigrant population
  • Historical mortality and morbidity in the U.S. population
  • Migration and social integration in contemporary China
  • Cross-national analyses of the household division of labor
  • Older people in U.S. immigrant families
  • Global city networks
  • Educational inequality among immigrant groups
  • Intergenerational mobility of Mexican Americans
  • Racial and ethnic differences in U.S. residence
  • The collateral consequences of incarceration for health and family life
  • The consequences of depression for social inequality
  • The causes and consequences of childhood health inequalities.
  • Family instability and early sexual activity.



Frank D. Bean, Distinguished Professor Emeritus

international migration, demography, racial and ethnic relations, economic sociology, family

Susan K. Brown, Professor Emerita

international migration, educational inequality, social demography, urban sociology

Rachel E. Goldberg, DASA M.A. Director

social demography, family, health, migration, and life course

Andrew Penner

gender, race, family, inequality, education

David A. Smith

world systems analysis, urbanization, development, comparative-historical sociology, dependent development in East Asia.

Kristin Turney, Co-Graduate Director

social inequality, family demography, population health, incarceration and punishment

Wang Feng, Cluster Coordinator 

contemporary demographic, economic, and social processes; social inequality in socialist states; contemporary Chinese society

Edward Telles

Immigration, race, ethnicity, latin america, latinos

Judith Treas, Distinguished Emerita Professor


George Farkas
John Hipp
Andrew Noymer
Annie Ro
Bryan Sykes



The following courses are among those satisfying prerequisites for field exams in population. Students should contact the cluster coordinator to inquire about the field exam.

  • Population (required); offered annually.
  • Demographic Methods (required); offered annually.
  • Age, Generations, and the Life Course
  • Global Demographic Change
  • Inequality and Health
  • Infectious Disease and Epidemiology
  • Families and Households
  • Global Urbanization
  • Community and Immigration
  • Sociological Perspectives on Transitions to Adulthood



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