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

Social & Environmental Determinants of Population Health

Poverty, economic & racial inequality, social isolation, exposure to violence, poor nutrition, job stress & the environment shape health in ways that are challenging for health care systems to fix.

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.

Workplace & Well-Being

Our research 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.

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 U.S. and internationally.