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Facts: Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology

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The Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) supports education, research, and scholarly exchange in population studies at the University of Washington. The Center focuses on interdisciplinary research, with an emphasis on understanding the structural mechanisms that link individual behavior to population level outcomes.

The red and black CSDE logo on our PDF fact sheet features a male and female salmon, signifying the core subjects of demography: fertility, migration, and mortality. The logo was designed by Marvin Oliver.

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  • Emphasizing interdisciplinary research, the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) brings together over 100 affiliates in disciplines ranging from sociology to economics to public health. It also has connections to the Northwest Census Research Data Center, the Center for Statistics and Social Sciences, the Center for Social Science Computation and Research, and the West Coast Poverty Center.
  • One of the premier centers of population research in the world, CSDE is funded by two major National Institute of Child Health & Development (NICHD) institutional grants: a population infrastructure center grant and a population research training grant. CSDE is one of only a handful of Population Centers in the country to have both research and training grants from NICHD.
  • CSDE has the only biodemography core in the country offering general use laboratory facilities to its affiliates. The lab specializes in developing, optimizing, and carrying out biomarker assays for large-scale research projects, and in developing methods appropriate for collecting and analyzing biological specimens in challenging field settings.
  • CSDE offers a unique Demographic Methods Certificate Program to help train the next generation of population scientists.



Since 1947, CSDE has provided graduate students with a unique opportunity to pursue advanced interdisciplinary training in demography. While they have formal collaborations in demography training with the affiliate graduate programs of Anthropology, Epidemiology, Geography, Health Services, Public Affairs, Social Work, Sociology, and Statistics, students can come from a variety of backgrounds. Students benefit from th e computing, GIS, biodemography, statistics, and administrative support infrastructure of an NICHD-funded population research center, including state-of-the-art computing resources and a wide range of instructional workshops and individual consultations.

CSDE offers up to eight fellowships each year for highly qualified students who specialize in demography and population studies as part of their doctoral programs of study. The fellowships are funded by the NICHD and a special University endowment fund. Similarly, CSDE accepts approximately 25 student trainees into the Demographic Methods Certificate program each year. Trainees and Fellows receive advanced interdisciplinary training in demography through specialized courses and direct involvement with projects of CSDE research affiliates.


  • 1,400 Student affiliates who use CSDE services
  • 6 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Fellows
  • 2 Shanahan Endowment Fellows
  • 76 CSDE Graduate Trainees

*Autumn 2016

Major Student Awards*

  • 7 National Science Foundation (NSF) Dissertation Improvement Grants
  • 6 NSF Scholars Award Graduate Research Fellowships
  • 1 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postgraduate Career Development Award
  • 1 National Institutes of Aging (NIA) Predoctoral Fellowship Awards
  • 1 National Institutes of Mental Health National Research Service Award
  • 2 NIH Predoctoral Clinical Research Fellowships
  • 1 Fulbright Postgraduate Award
  • 2 Fulbright Research Scholarships
  • 1 Magnuson Scholar
  • 4 Fritz Boeing Fellowships
  • 3 West Coast Poverty Center Research Center Fellowships
  • 1 American Sociological Association Minority Program Fellowship
  • 4 Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships
  • More than 30 other major awards

*Since 2005


Center Research Affiliates

CSDE supports 108 research affiliates at the University of Washington, with the majority holding appointments in Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, Economics, Statistics, History, Psychology, and International Studies. The remainder are drawn from the Schools of Social Work, Public Affairs, Public Health, Global Health, Nursing, and Medicine, and the College of Engineering. In addition, CSDE has 21 affiliates from other institutions in the Pacific Northwest, including Battelle Institute’s Center for Public Health Research and Evaluation, Western Washington University, Washington State University, Seattle University, and the University of Victoria, BC, Canada.

Many affiliates are leaders in their field, serving as past presidents of the Population Association of America, the Association of American Geographers, the American Sociological Association, the Association for Asian Studies, and the Evolutionary Anthropology Association. They also direct the  Northwest Census Research Data Center, the UW Center for Research on Families, the West Coast Poverty Center, the Sociobehavioral and Prevention Research Core of the Center for AIDS Research, and the UW Honors Program. In addition, our UW affiliates include many of the University’s most productive and prominent scholars.

Research Affiliates

  • 108 University of Washington
  • 3 Battelle
  • 1 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • 1 Portland State University
  • 1 Seattle Pacific University
  • 1 Seattle University
  • 1 Simon Fraser University
  • 1 University of Oregon
  • 6 University of Victoria
  • 2 Washington State University
  • 2 Western Washington University

Research Grants to Affiliates

  • 115 National Institutes of Health
  • 44 National Science Foundation
  • 15 Canadian Institute of Health Research
  • 12 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • 150 Other Funders (including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Laura & John Arnold Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, City of Seattle, US Dept. of Justice, Pew Charitable Trusts)


Research and Scholarship

CSDE is one of the leading centers of demographic research in the world, with faculty and students research teams addressing some of society’s most challenging problems. Recent projects by CSDE affiliates include:

Universal Access: Development of a Comprehensive Measurement. From the 1950s to the 1980s, research on high fertility in developing countries, including the effectiveness of family planning programs, was the major policy issue in the field of demography. Major investments were made in the collection of new data and analytic methods. With persistent high fertility in many of the world’s poorest countries and stalling fertility declines in many others, the assumption of rapid worldwide decline to zero population growth appears to have been premature. Moreover, there has been a substantial
reduction in basic and applied research on the impact of family planning programs on fertility declines, including those that reached low fertility over the last 30 years.

Current policymaking, including the family planning program at the Gates Foundation, is working with theories, hypotheses, and models that were developed several decades ago and do not explain well puzzling patterns of persistently high unmet need despite steady
investments in family planning programs. Charles Hirschman, Sara Curran, and Tyler McCormick are working on identifying improved conceptual models of fertility transitions as they relate to family planning behaviors and programs, along with sophisticated applications of temporal and spatial data integration that allow for higher resolution measures and closer linkages between observed behavior, social and cultural change, and program investments that can disentangle cause and effect.

The Minimum Wage Study. The Minimum Wage Study is a research effort, housed at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, that is dedicated to providing rigorous analysis of the impact of minimum wage ordinances in metropolitan regions and states. The study team, composed of CSDE affiliates Jacob Vigdor, Mark C. Long, Jennifer Romich, Scott W. Allard, Heather D. Hill, and others, seeks to provide insights that will be useful for policymakers and scholars. As more states and localities move forward with plans to raise the minimum wage, this research will infuse the debate with data on the effects on workers, households, employers, and the local economy.

Primary Research Areas

  • Demographic Measurements and Methods
  • Environments and Populations
  • Health of People and Populations
  • Migration and Settlements
  • Wellbeing of Families and Households



Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology
Box 353412
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 616-7743


Fact sheet last updated: May 2017