Research Areas

MPC has five primary research areas that encompass the largest and most compelling new projects currently planned by the Center. Each has a designated convener, appointed by the Director, who brings interested members together for meetings on a regular basis to foster new collaborations and keep participants apprised of new research activities in their areas of interest. These groups are important mechanisms for encouraging the development of new approaches and projects, fostering opportunities for junior as well as mid-level and senior scholars to share their ideas. Any group of MPC members may initiate a new primary research area group, but to ensure sustained support from the Center, they must demonstrate research productivity and seek external funding.

Research Themes:

Population Data Science

MPC data innovations—complete microdata covering entire populations, linked across life courses and across generations; interoperability of traditional censuses and surveys with satellite imagery and climate models; integration of hundreds of population and health surveys to allow analysis across time and space—promise to transform the study of population dynamics by providing powerful new tools to address the most pressing questions in the field. Conveners: Lara Cleveland and Catherine Fitch

Population Health and Health Systems

MPC population health research is at the forefront of addressing research questions about the shape of health disparities; the interplay between human population dynamics, social context, and disease etiology; and interventions designed to promote health and mitigate health inequities. We have a thriving research collaborative representing faculty and staff from the fields of economics, epidemiology, medicine, population studies, public health, public policy, and sociology. Our strength in research on health care access and health disparities, together with our leadership in developing powerful new health-related datasets, uniquely position us to make breakthroughs in three key areas of population health research. Conveners: Julia Drew and Theresa Osypuk

Population Mobility and Spatial Demography

MPC has growing strength in population mobility and spatial demography. An active group of scholars is researching the causes, characteristics, and consequences of population mobility and examining the spatial dimension of demographic processes. This cross-disciplinary group of scholars comes from a wide range of disciplines, including geography, economics, statistics, sociology, civil engineering, computer science, public health, urban studies, public affairs and population studies. Conveners: David Van Riper and Kathryn Grace

Reproductive and Sexual Health

MPC research on reproductive and sexual health spans the life course, addressing health from preconception through childhood and adolescence, pregnancy and post-delivery experiences, and parenthood. Three features of MPC’s reproductive and sexual health research community highlight our capacity for cutting-edge contributions: 1) disciplinary diversity; 2) rich and varied data resources; and 3) the combination of established and emerging scholars. MPC scholars of reproductive and sexual health span eight disciplines: epidemiology, applied economics, geography, health policy, history, pediatrics, public policy and sociology. Such disciplinary diversity is a fruitful incubator for innovative new scholarship, catalyzing novel partnerships and expanding research across fields. Convener: Elizabeth Boyle

Work, Family, and Time

With 60 participants and a dedicated workshop series, the MPC Work, Family, and Time group is the largest and most active research group at the Center, producing a steady stream of path-breaking research. These scholars conduct research on time use, changing workplaces and workforce composition, and work and family issues in historical and developing economies. Much of this research takes advantage of newly available data now under construction at MPC: integrated time-use data spanning the period from 1960 to the present; linked CPS data for the period since 1962; full count historical census files from 1790 to 1940; and the Census Longitudinal Infrastructure Project. Conveners: Sarah Flood and Phyllis Moen