CSDA’s Five Research Themes

The research conducted by CSDA Associates revolves around five signature themes: Immigration and Internal Migration; Health, Health Disparities, and Biodemography; Population Dynamics Across the Life Course; Spatial Demography; and Data and Methods for Population Research. Our associates study these themes largely through the creative use of existing data sources, however, several of our associates also collect primary data.

Our research program has its strongest roots in the area of Immigration and Internal Migration. Work in this area focuses on identifying and measuring the processes by which immigrants become incorporated into US society, with a strong emphasis on factors that influence the health and well-being of immigrants and their children. Other CSDA-supported research in this area focuses on racial and ethnic residential patterns, the determinants and consequences of residential mobility, internal migration, and urbanization, both in the US and China.

Perhaps our fastest growing body of research is in the area of Health, Health Disparities, and Biodemography. With an emphasis on vulnerable populations, CSDA supports research that focuses on documenting temporal and spatial trends in population health, as well as research that seeks to identify social, psychological, and cultural determinants of morbidity and mortality. Increasingly, CSDA-supported research is focusing on studies of genetic and environmental epidemiology.

Collectively, CSDA-supported research also works to advance our understanding of Population Dynamics Across the Life Course. While the research of some of our Associates aims to better understand how families, peers, neighborhoods, and schools contribute to the successful development of America’s youth, other Associates focus on the concerns brought about by population aging, such as social isolation and the management of chronic conditions. Still others focus on issues that span the entire life course, such as family and household dynamics and intergenerational relations.

Our center’s Spatial Demography research focuses on the use of spatial statistics to analyze the effects of location on demographic processes and individual outcomes. CSDA-supported research in this area also focuses on issues such as residential segregation and neighborhood effects, as well as studies of land use in order to understand population distribution, family organization, and environmental health risks.

And, CSDA also supports research aimed at enhancing access to, and the rigorous use of, Data and Methods for Population Research. We support several ongoing data collections, including a study of youth behavior in Rochester, NY, a study of infant development in Upstate New York, and a study of birth defects in New York State. Our Associates also work on making valuable methodological innovations for population research, including work on imputation for missing data, and covariate selection with censored data.

A defining characteristic of population research at the University at Albany is the extent to which specific research programs cut across these signature themes, often involving collaborations among two or more scholars, and increasingly cutting across disciplinary boundaries.


CSDA’s relation with other UAlbany Centers

CSDA works together with several other research centers at the University at Albany. The most notable tie is with the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research. The Mumford Center was established in 1987 under the direction of geographer Ray Bromley. In its first decade it functioned primarily to organize seminars and conferences involving faculty from several departments with interests in urban and regional issues. In the summer of 1999, with the appointment of John Logan (Distinguished Professor of Sociology) as director, the University at Albany made a substantial new investment in the center, including professional and secretarial staff, a supplies and expenses budget, and office space. The Mumford Center has a long history of partnership with CSDA, beginning with a joint project on inner cities funded by the Rockefeller Foundation (1990-1991), and continuing with the Urban China Research Network, funded with a five-year grant from the Mellon Foundation (2000-2005). All Mumford Center research projects with NSF or NIH support have been administered jointly with CSDA and have relied on CSDA for infrastructural support. The Mumford Center had developed a major public infrastructure program related to Census 2000, which garnered support from the Ford Foundation and brought considerable national visibility to population research at the University at Albany. In 2013, Catherine Lawson from the Department of Geography and Planning was appointed as the director of the Mumford Center. CSDA continues to remain a close collaborating relationship with the Mumford Center in terms of census data extraction and manipulation.