Demography. The PSC is anchored by a long, distinguished tradition (J Durand, D Thomas, R Easterlin, E van de Walle, Furstenberg, Preston, J Menken, D Massey, SP Morgan, H-P Kohler) in demography. Demographic topics are a major source of intellectual identification across fields within the PSC, as researchers who are not trained in formal demography, but who are studying fertility, marriage, family etc. are attracted to population research (e.g., Fang, Fernández-Villaverde, Greenwood, Lareau, Ríos-Rull). The Graduate Group in Demography (GGD; directed by Guillot, previously by H-P Kohler, Elo, Smith, Zuberi, Preston) is a powerful recruitment and retention tool for PSC faculty with core identities as demographers and a source of skilled research workers for large-scale PSC projects; for PSC faculty in departments without access to similarly trained research assistants (e.g., Culhane, MacDonald, Wolf).
Fertility, family planning, and reproductive health. The PSC is the home to several R01s on fertility and reproductive health, plus other perspectives on these core PDB areas of interest.
Central projects. Parrado’s study of the contribution of immigrant fertility to U.S. population change assesses the effects of tempo distortions resulting from immigration on standard period fertility measures; and develops fertility measures that take into account the dynamics of migration, to measure the fertility of immigrants over time and across ethno-racial groups. Preston and SP Morgan (UNC) are collaborators. The Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (directed by H-P Kohler) includes research on the influence of social networks on HIV-related behaviors, HIV prevention strategies employed by individuals in rural high-HIV prevalence contexts, and the acceptability of HIV testing and counseling. The project’s experimental interventions regarding HIV testing and sexual behavior fit with similar projects of Thirumurthy, on partner testing in high-risk populations in Kenya (R01 MH111602) and Uganda (R01 MH105254); an R01 resubmission in progress builds on joint insights from these investigators’ projects.
Multidisciplinary perspectives. Greenwood and colleagues (J Demog Econ, 2015) stress the role of economic theory in the interpretation of the role of modern household technology (appliances) in fomenting the Baby Boom. Fernández-Villaverde and Greenwood (J Eur Econ Assoc, 2014) integrate history and social theory in an economic treatment of how another change in technology—contraceptive development—is implicated in the family calculus associated with inculcating sexual mores. Low’s paper on the costs and benefits of expanding access to emergency contraception—there is no demographically detectable effect on fertility—won the 2014 award for best research article in J Policy Analys Manag. Her project on expansion of IVF access in Israel is supported by the PSC's Quartet pilot program. Roberts received the 2016 Society of Family Planning Lifetime Achievement Award for her work on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics (e.g., “The Social Context of Oncofertility” , how gender, class and race inequities condition the possibility that female cancer patients can preserve their fertility).
Family, marriage, divorce. New projects and junior scholars add to ongoing research and expertise:
New projects. (1) The Global Family Change (GFC) project (NSF SES1729185; H-P Kohler, PI, Furstenberg, co-PI) will advance the study of global family change. The project integrates over 450 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), along with contextual information on policies, social norms, geography, and environment, for 118 unique LMICs across more than three decades. The investigators will develop comparative indicators of family change at the global level, across multiple dimensions of GFC such as individual behavior, "linked lives", and life-course patterns; test leading theories of how and why family systems change with economic and demographic development, including analyses of whether demographic development leads to the convergence of family systems; and investigate the implications of GFC for the welfare of nations by linking diverse patterns of GFC throughout LMICs to their demographic, economic, health, and social consequences. Collaborative development of this project was provided by the PSC via the International Partnership with the Dondena Centre at Bocconi U, where PSC Research Affiliate F Billari leads the European wing of the project. (2) PSC project development support, via the Administrative Core, enabled Lareau (who had never previously had competitive federal funding) to obtain NSF award SES1729469 for the study of family dynamics among a group not well-represented in nationally representative surveys, but very well represented in distributions of economic wellbeing: families of high net worth.(3) Park, with substantial new funding from the Academy of Korean Studies and the Korean Ministry of Education, and ongoing PSC infrastructural support, has established and directs the Korean Millennials Research Lab (including former PSC Research Associate G Kao [Yale]), to study the coming of age, in a family and institutional context, of this generation of young Koreans.
New researchers. Baker studies work and the family and their relations with poverty and inequality. Her analysis of CPS data (J Marr Fam, 2015) from 1974-2010 documents that whether the household head is married is decreasingly associated with child poverty while the number of wage earners is increasingly a factor. Gonalons-Pons (Demog, 2017, w/ C Schwartz [Wisc]) challenges the observation, based on cross-sectional census data, that the trend toward greater spousal homogamy (hence inter-household heterogeneity) reflects a long-term trend toward greater marital endogamy, i.e., better-educated women tending to marry better-educated men, and conversely for the less well educated. The PSID reveals, however, increasing homogamy over time within couples, reflecting increases in the absolute and relative labor supply of women. Through the PSC she is conferring with Greenwood, who has been working on the same issues of assortative mating (AER, 2014), married female labor supply (AEJ: Macro 2016) and inter-household inequality from a macroeconomic perspective—a good example of the topically-congruent, cross-disciplinary form of scientific mentorship afforded by the PSC.
Continuing strengths. Allison, with P England (NYU) and former PSC post-doc L Sayer (Maryland) uses multi-wave NSFH data and latent class modeling to establish that spouses who have an affair are the more likely to want (hence initiate) a divorce, in contradistinction to the stereotype of offended partners initiating a divorce as a result of an affair by their partner (Demog Res, 2014); and that the greater overall likelihood that a wife initiates a divorce is explicable by hypergamy (wives tending to be somewhat younger than husbands), since among both men and women the younger partners are the more likely to initiate a divorce (J Marr Fam, 2016). Jacobs won the 2014 Work Life Legacy Award from the Families and Work Institute and was Co-President from 2014-16 of Sociologists for Women in Society. His 2016 Gender & Society article (with K Gerson) shows that attitudes toward the employment (vs. staying home) of both men and women with young children depend greatly on the context (job satisfaction, financial need), which explains ambivalence in GSS surveys regarding the women’s employment in particular. He continues as Executive Officer of the Work and Family Researchers Network, an international interdisciplinary organization that facilitates virtual and face-to-face interaction among researchers from a broad range of fields to engage the next generation of work and family scholars. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) relevant to the PDB mission include Parenting and Caregiving, plus the planned SIG on work, family, and health outcomes.
Mortality. The PSC will be supporting two large-scale projects in the coming cycle:
Global age patterns of under-5 mortality. Via R01 HD090082, Guillot (PI) will lead an international research team in constructing the largest and most up-to-date database of high-quality global mortality information by detailed age (days, weeks, months, years) from birth through age 5, by sex. This database will be the basis for generating models summarizing regularities in the distribution of under-5 mortality by age in human populations. The project will develop a baseline model for age patterns of under-5 mortality using high-quality vital registration information from more-developed countries. It will then update the baseline model with validated prospective data sources from less-developed populations and use this model for the indirect estimation of detailed mortality from birth to age 5 in LDCs. The models and constructed database will permit the project to address questions including (a) how widespread exceptions are to the usual pattern of regular decline in mortality with age from birth to age 5; (b) which age groups within the 0-5 age range are most responsive to specific health interventions; and (c) how do sex differentials in mortality evolve with age within the 0-5 age range in various contexts? The international research team includes J Katz and Li L (Johns Hopkins), G Reniers (LSHTM), G Pison (INED), and P Gerland (UN). There is also an international scientific advisory committee (including Behrman). Co-ordination of the multi-site research program will occur through the PSC and involve the McNeil Business Office and the Administrative Core, which will work with the Perry World House to host meetings of the working group and the scientific advisors.
Recent stagnation in U.S. mortality decline. This is the extension of a line of research in the previous cycle concerning mortality differentials centered on the U.S.: mortality patterns (expectation of life, cause-specific distribution of deaths) both within the US (geographical and social variation) and between the US and other nations, with an emphasis on behavioral factors relevant to observed differentials (especially smoking and obesity) and their demography, i.e., how compositional changes over time and space in factors related to avoidable mortality explained observed differentials and predict future mortality (R01 AG03131). In 2016 publications, Preston showed that: (1) sociodemographic risk factors for mortality, such as race/ethnicity and sex, tend to work multiplicatively, but that the effects of obesity are additive (Soc Sci Med, with former PSC PhD N Mehta, Michigan); (2) the effect of obesity on mortality may be masked be underestimated when obesity is measured by contemporaneous BMI, whereas maximal lifetime BMI is a stronger mortality predictor (PNAS, with former PSC PhD A Stokes, BU); and (3) smoking histories across cohorts can explain many mortality differentials across populations, as with heavy female smoking in Scotland (Pop Studies, with former PSC PhD L Kelly). Diabetes is implicated in the effects of the obesity epidemic on US life expectancy and in racial/ethnic disparities in health and mortality. However, the frequency with which diabetes is listed as the underlying cause of death is not a reliable indicator of its actual contribution to the national mortality profile and is likely to underestimate its importance. Elo and Preston (MPIs, R03 AG055724) will undertake nationally representative cohort studies to identify excess mortality risk among persons with diabetes, and to estimate the contribution of diabetes to disparities in US life expectancy by race and ethnicity. In a related project funded by RWJF (#544026), they will study (with former PSC PhDs A Hendi and J Ho, of USC) the suite of reasons associated with the “stall” in mortality decline in the US in the 21st century. Under a prior award from RWJF, they established that the far greater increase in life expectancy in NYC than was occurring elsewhere in the US was almost entirely a function of differences in population composition: the foreign-born in the US have lower mortality, and NYC has many more foreign-born individuals, especially at higher (hence higher-mortality) ages (PDR, 2014). The investigators will identify the sources of stagnation and recent decline in life expectancy by examining the contribution of geographic variation in mortality, causes of death, and race/ethnicity to the national life expectancy levels and trends between 2000 and 2015.