The Office of Population Research

Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013

Wallace Hall is home to the Office of Population ResearchWith a growing global population comes new challenges – ranging from access to health care and vital services to changing migration patterns and increasing urbanization. These are among the issues being addressed by researchers at the Office of Population Research (OPR) at Princeton University.

Now in its 77th year, OPR is home to a diverse and cross-disciplinary approach to research. Research is characterized by five themes: health and wellbeing; migration and development; children, youth, and families; education and stratification; and data and methods.

Health and Wellbeing

Researchers at OPR focus on how health and wellbeing are influenced by public policy decisions, economic policies, biologic factors such as genetics, and the interplay of these and other factors. Specific topics include research on reproductive health, access to contraception, aging, how migration affects health and genetic risk factors for ill health.

Migration and Development

Migration both within and across borders has profound effects, both positive and negative, on individuals and populations. OPR researchers are exploring three main issues: new developments in patterns of migration; intergenerational variations in socioeconomic mobility; and the impact of immigration on health and wellbeing. 

Children, Youth and Families

Family structures continue to evolve with time and population growth. Today's children grow up with situations such as maternal employment, cohabitation, divorce and same-sex parenting. Researchers at OPR are exploring these phenomena and looking at policies meant to enhance environments for children, including after-school programs, intergenerational parenting and labor market changes.

Education and Stratification

Education is widely viewed as a gateway to socioeconomic improvement, but unequal access to education can lead to stratification of society. OPR researchers are studying issues involved in unequal access to education based on income level and looking for ways to make access to education more universal.

Data and Methods

As technology enhances the ability to collect large amounts of data, new methods for analyzing information are increasingly needed. Many researchers associated with OPR are conducting research involving large data sets and are developing statistical techniques, computer models and other evaluation methods for analyzing data.

OPR has close ties with the following Princeton researchers centers:

  • The Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing
  • The Center for Health and Wellbeing
  • The Center for Migration and Development
  • The Program in Urbanization and Migration

"For more than 75 years OPR has led the way in demographic research," said OPR Director Douglas Massey, Princeton's Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, "and today we are making key contributions to important fields such as epigenetics, biodemography, social epidemiology and health, while maintaining excellence in the traditional subjects of fertility, mortality, and migration."