Margaret M. Weden

Margaret M. Weden
Senior Social Scientist; Acting Director, RAND Population Research Center; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in population dynamics, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; M.H.S. in biostatistics, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health


Margaret Weden (she/her) is a demographer and public health scientist with more than fifteen years of experience. She is the acting director of the RAND Population Research Center and a Pardee RAND Graduate School professor. Her research focuses on the multilevel, life course, and intergenerational processes generating social and spatial stratification of populations. Currently she is leading a project on the impact of local minimum wage initiatives on infant health, contributing to research on the impact of federal nutritional policy on food insecurity and child obesity, and helping to provide guidance to CDC on how to use existing surveillance systems to monitor behavioral health following emergencies. All three projects address the coronavirus pandemic and extend her earlier research on man-made disasters. Through a long-standing collaboration, she and her colleagues have developed new, dyadic theory and methods (combined data analysis/data fusion, ‘two-sex’ population microsimulation) by studying life course trajectories of obesity and, most recently, the intergenerational reproduction of social inequality. Her research has focused on social cleavages by gender, race, ethnicity, and nativity, frequently with an emphasis on neighborhood context. She has also developed tools to help local public health departments apply geospatial data and methods. Weden was a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received her Ph.D in population dynamics and M.H.S. in biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Recent Projects

  • Assessing Individual, Community, and Financial Factors in Birth Outcomes and Associated Health Disparities
  • BIGDATA Collaborative Research: IA, Population Reproduction of Poverty at Birth from Surveys, Censuses, and Birth Registrations
  • Puerto Rico Economic and Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Combined-survey Estimation & Markov-chain Simulation of Childhood Obesity

Selected Publications

Weden, M.M., Parks, V., Parker, A.M., Drakeford, L., Ramchand, R. , "Health Disparities in the U.S. Gulf Coast: The Interplay of Environmental Disaster, Material Loss, and Residential Segregation," Environmental Justice, 14(2), 2021

Weden, M.M., Miles, J.N.V, Friedman, E., Escarce, J., Peterson, C., Langa, K.M. Shih, R.A., "The Hispanic Paradox: Race/ethnicity and Nativity, Immigrant Enclave Residence and Cognitive Impairment among Older US Adults," Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(5), 2017

Miles, J.N.†, Weden, M.M. † (†joint-first authors), Lavery, D., Escarce, J.J., Cagney, K.A., Shih, R.A., "Constructing a Time-Invariant Measure of the Socio-economic Status of U.S. Census tracts," Journal of Urban Health, 93(1), 2016

Weden, M.M., Brownell, P., Rendall, M.S., Lau, C., Fernandes, M., Nazarov, Z. , "Parent-reported Height and Weight as Sources of Bias in Survey Estimates of Childhood Obesity," American Journal of Epidemiology, 178(3), 2013

Link, B.G., Carpiano, R.M, Weden, M.M., "Can Honorific Awards Give Us Clues About the Connection Between Socioeconomic Status and Mortality," American Sociological Review, 78(2), 2013

Rendall, M.S., Weden, M.M., Favreault, M.M., Waldron, H, "The Protective Effect of Marriage for Survival: A Review and Update," Demography, 48(2), 2011

Weden, M.M., Carpiano, R.M., Robert, S.A. , "Subjective and objective neighborhood characteristics and adult health," Social Science & Medicine, 66(6), 2008

Weden, M.M., Bird, C.E., Escarce, J.E., Lurie, N., "Neighborhood archetypes for population health research: Is there no place like home," Health & Place, 17, 2011