Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies

As a University-wide initiative, the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies brings together scientists from all corners of the Harvard campus—and beyond—to make exciting advances in population research. With seven and a half billion people living on the planet and a projected nine and a half billion by 2050, our focus is on examining the most nuanced trends and important challenges in this century.


Research Focal Areas

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Social & Environmental Determinants of Population Health

Our work examines how poverty, economic and racial inequality, social isolation and exclusion, exposure to violence, poor nutrition, and job stress, along with environmental conditions, shape health in ways that health care systems are challenged to fix.
Learn about our Research Projects
Three elderly Asian women

Aging Societies

The fertility declines since the 1960s have resulted in rapidly aging populations worldwide. This focal area explores why and how these changes in population size and ratios have had dramatic effects on demographic distribution, living conditions, family structures, fiscal balances, and many other factors that are key to human welfare.
Learn about a related Major Project
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Workplace & Well-Being

This focal area includes research that strives to reimagine how workplaces can support employees’ well-being by developing policies and strategies that create a more productive workforce, and by alleviating work and family strain as our society continues to experience demographic changes. Our work in this area also involves corporate and community engagement, public dissemination, and linkages to policymakers.
Learn about a related Major Project
Multi-generational family

Social & Family Demography

This interdisciplinary focal area is related to work that uses demographic methods to describe and explain the distribution of social goods across populations. Typically, this includes research on behaviors, attitudes, and norms related to marriage, cohabitation, divorce, childbearing, gender roles, intergenerational relations, and social inequality, both within the United States and internationally.
Learn about our Social Demography Seminars

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