Population and Place

This exciting area brings together scholars across multiple subfields within sociology, such as urban sociology, rural sociology, life course, family, and demography. We examine provocative questions about how and why places and their populations change over time, and why some places and populations are more advantaged than others. For example, how is rural America being reshaped by politics, amenity migration, farming labor practices, and the enduring opioid crisis? Why do poverty, housing discrimination, and low-wage jobs persist in urban areas? Why is life expectancy lower in Mississippi than Minnesota? Faculty in this area use a wide range of research methods and data, from quantitative analyses of large national datasets to rich ethnographic analyses of local communities. Many faculty in this area regularly communicate with policymakers, the media, and local organizations to make positive change. 

Population (Karas MontezLandesLondonMonnatScheweSilversteinWilmoth)

Faculty in this area develop and extend knowledge of population processes such as population health and mortality, fertility, (im)migration, family formation, and age structure, that contribute to changes in the U.S. and the world at large. Recent emphases include: racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in health outcomes; veteran mortality, behavioral health, and well-being; health and mortality trends for persons with disability; geographic differences in opioid and other drug mortality; the role of state policies on health and mortality; religiosity and mortality risk in later life; family processes among same-sex couples; longitudinal study of generations; aging and families in China; and relationships between childhood adversity and adult health outcomes.

Urban Sociology (KurienMonnatParisPurserShahrokniWinder)

In this area, we apply sociological theories, methods, and insights to the study of human interaction, social structures, processes, and change in metropolitan areas. Recent emphases include: urban policy; the low-wage labor market and lived experience of poverty in the urban U.S.; the housing market and tenant evictions; immigrant community formation and mobilization; gender inequalities in middle-eastern cities; residential segregation; and HIV prevention among black men. These topics are explored at different geographic scales, from the neighborhood to the metropolis and beyond. 

Rural Sociology (Karas MontezMonnatSchewe)

Scholars in this area explore sociological and interdisciplinary approaches to emerging and enduring social, economic, and demographic issues affecting rural people and places. Recent projects include: opioid mortality trends in rural America; factors associated with rural voting patterns in the 2016 Presidential election; Hispanic health outcomes in new vs. established immigrant destinations; farm labor arrangements; antibiotic use on US dairy farms; amenity migration; and agricultural climate change mitigation.