About the RAND Population Research Center

The RAND Population Research Center (PRC) has several distinctive characteristics:

  • The PRC has historically had a strong multidisciplinary focus, including among its researchers economists, demographers, sociologists, health scientists, medical sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and statisticians.
  • Its research uses large-scale, longitudinal, micro-level data sets, several of which were collected by researchers in the Center, to conduct analyses at the individual and aggregate level.
  • PRC researchers work on issues in many countries, exploiting the institutional variation across countries to better understand the effects of public policy on societies.
  • Major emphasis is placed on innovative data collection methods, sample designs and new types of information.
  • It applies demographic research to issues of public policy.

At the core of the PRC is a group of productive researchers with national and international reputations in their fields. The PRC draws on a long history of demographic studies and data collection efforts in RAND Labor and Population, including research on child and family well-being, labor markets, economic development, household structure, population aging, fertility, mortality, health, and migration, and in RAND Health, including research on health promotion, risk behaviors, and HIV/AIDS. The Center's current research agenda is organized around four themes: Collection of Innovative, High-Quality Data; Research on Children and Families; Labor Markets and Human Capital Investments; Socio-Economic Status and Health.

The PRC provides a stimulating environment for these researchers through a variety of activities. The PRC sponsors the Labor and Population Seminar Series, the Sociology and Demography Seminar Series, weekly brown bags, conferences and workshops. The PRC makes its research available by presentations at conferences and seminars, publications in professional journals, working papers , and Policy Briefs (which summarize research findings and policy implications for the nonacademic audience). In addition the PRC provides computing and data support and supports a program of seed grants.

The Center is also committed to research training. Part of this commitment takes place through the RAND Fellows in Population Studies and the Study of Aging Program. Via this program, new Ph.D.s spend two years in the program sharpening their analytic skills, learning to communicate study results effectively, and developing a future research agenda. This training takes place largely through work with ongoing Center projects.