This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Inside Demography--An Interview with Andrew Cherlin

Dr. Andrew Cherlin is the Benjamin H. Griswold III Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at John Hopkins University, and is a Past President of the Population Association of America (PAA). He is one of the world's foremost family demographers--widely published, cited, and quoted. He has appeared in numerous of my blogs over the years, starting in 2010 and most recently just a couple of weeks ago.

Last April he was interviewed by members of the PAA History Committee (which I chair) during the PAA's annual meeting in Chicago, and we now have this interview available online at the website of the PAA. One of the important themes in Dr. Cherlin's work over the years has been to bridge the gap between academic research and public policy. Here is an excerpt from page 18 of the interview:
The recent development that I see as most productive among policy people is an agreement among conservatives and liberals that both economics and culture make a difference.
In the economic realm, people with college degrees are the winners in our globalized and automated economy. And they’re the ones who have a marriage-based, stable family life these days. What we need to do is help the people who are not the winners, help them by getting them better educated, not necessarily college degrees for all, but community college training and other apprenticeship-based programs. That’s what we need to do.
On the cultural level, I do think there is a role for stressing the importance of stability in family life. And there is nothing wrong with the liberals doing that. So we need to think about both economic and cultural ways to lessen the class divide that in 2017 seems so strong among American families.
In my view, this is the one of, if not the, most important reason for doing demographic research--to improve our understanding of how the world is working, so that we can do our best to improve life for all humans. 

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