CDE Research Theme Working Groups

Demography of Inequality

Demography of Inequality
CDE is known for its many contributions to research on inequality and social stratification, and the demography of inequality continues to be a core focus of the Center’s research agenda. Poverty and processes of social stratification have important implications for family behavior, health, the well-being of children, the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage, and racial/ethnic inequality. Much CDE research focuses explicitly on these relationships and several affiliates address similar questions in other countries in East Asia, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and Western Europe. Many CDE scholars are also engaged in research on educational and occupational attainment, key elements of human capital that shape patterns of inequality in income and wealth. A number of public policy initiatives attempt to ameliorate the most pernicious aspects of inequality, and CDE researchers have contributed considerably to the evaluation of their effects.

Faculty with research in this area: Addo, Bautista, Berger, Carlson, Collins, Coxhead, Curtis, Curtis, Durlauf, Elwert, Fletcher, Fu, Gerber, Grainger, Gregory, Grodsky, Herd, Kaplan, Kennan, Logan, Magnuson, Massoglia, McKelvey, Meyer, Mullahy, Nordheim, O'Brien, Palloni, Persico, Raymo, Robert, Schechter, Scholz, Schwartz, Seshadri, Si, Smeeding, Steiner, Taber, Tjernstroem, Wallace, Walsh, Wang, Wolfe, Xiong

Working Group Organizers (email): Christine Schwartz, Timothy M. Smeeding

Fertility, Families and Households

Fertility, Families and Households
The last several decades of the 20th century witnessed dramatic changes in fertility and family formation throughout the world. CDE has a long tradition of excellence in research on U.S. fertility, families and households. Ongoing work in this area focuses particularly on increasing family complexity, growing socioeconomic differences in family behavior, and the implications of those differences for social and economic inequality. Documentation of trends and socioeconomic differences in union formation, union dissolution, and the composition of households is an important component of basic demographic science. This is particularly so in the context of growing social and economic inequality, increasing family complexity arising from the decoupling of marriage and childbearing, and changing gender dynamics accompanying relative improvements in women’s educational and occupational status vis-à-vis men. CDE is also strong in international family scholarship and has an extensive agenda of comparative cross-national research, providing insights on the influence of culture and sociopolitical contexts on demographic processes.

Faculty with research in this area: Addo, Berger, Carlson, Curtis, Elwert, Gerber, Grant, Greenberg, Halpern-Meekin, Higgins, Magnuson, Mailick, Meyer, Nobles, Raymo, Schwartz, Seshadri, Smeeding, Walker, Walsh, Wolfe

Working Group Organizers (email): Lawrence M. Berger, James Raymo

Health and Mortality

Health and Mortality
CDE research on health and mortality addresses demographic trends and differences in population health, the mechanisms through which social, biological, and environmental factors shape individual health, especially among disadvantaged populations, and the effects of health on individual productivity, family stability, and societal well-being. Research innovation requires collection of new biomedical data integrated with social and behavioral measures, new analytical strategies for describing the complex pathways linking biomedical and social environment and behaviors as well as new methodologies to recover causal relationships among the various biomedical and social processes. Much of this work focuses on understanding the ways in which early-life exposures and experiences across the life course contribute to variation in subsequent health outcomes and to the reproduction of health dis/advantage across generations.

Faculty with research in this area: Bautista, Burns, Elwert, Engelman, Fletcher, Fujimura, Grant, Greenberg, Herd, Higgins, Kind, Mailick, Martinez-Donate, McKelvey, Mullahy, Nobles, O'Brien, Palloni, Peppard, Persico, Raymo, Robert, Schaeffer, Vanness, Wang, Wolfe, Xiong

Working Group Organizers (email): Ana Martinez-Donate, Jenna Nobles

Biodemography

Biodemography
Research combining the theories, questions, and methods of population science with biomarker data (including genetic data) is one of the most rapidly growing areas of research at CDE. Recent and ongoing work by CDE affiliates is breaking exciting new ground in our understanding of how physiological and social processes interact to shape outcomes of interest to social scientists. CDE researchers are involved in the development of research designs in behavioral genetics and new advances in the collection and dissemination of genetic and other biomarker data. We are also bringing together population health and social science researchers to explore the collection and analysis of microbiota data in large national surveys. Several large population surveys conducted at UW-Madison (e.g., WLS, MIDUS, and SHOW) now include biological data and researchers are working to develop methods for analyzing these data in conjunction with the social scientific data that form the core of these surveys.

Faculty with research in this area: Durlauf, Elwert, Engelman, Fletcher, Grant, Greenberg, Herd, Mailick, Martinez-Donate, Nobles, Palloni, Peppard, Rey, Schaeffer, Wolfe

Working Group Organizers (email): Jason Fletcher, Alberto Palloni

Environmental and Spatial Demography

Environmental and Spatial Demography
Environmental and spatial demography is a broad area that encompasses research on the ways in which health and other measures of well-being are shaped by characteristics of the geographic context in which individuals live, the spatial patterning of demographic and socioeconomic processes and outcomes, relationships between climate change (and natural disasters) and population processes – especially migration, and new initiatives in developing research on population-environment interactions. CDE enthusiastically supports collaborative research efforts between population scientists and environmental scientists in the belief that understanding the demographic, political, and economic implications of climate and environmental change will be one of the most important areas of research for population scientists in the years to come. Examples of ongoing research projects include a study of the intergenerational implications of exposure to neighborhood disadvantage, studies of the implications of disasters for migration and fertility, and efforts to develop models of sea-level change and population displacement.

Faculty with research in this area: Alix-Garcia, Bautista, Coxhead, Curtis, Elwert, Grainger, Gregory, Kind, Massoglia, Nobles, Palloni, Patz, Persico, Raymo, Robert, Schneider, Tjernstroem, Wolfe, Zhu

Working Group Organizers (email): Katherine J. Curtis, Annemarie Schneider