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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Remembering Past PAA President Sidney Goldstein

The arrival today of the latest IUSSP newsletter brought the news about the death last month of Sidney Goldstein, who was president of the Population Association of America back in 1976. He died just one day after celebrating his 92nd birthday. He had retired to Lexington, Kentucky, although most of his career was spent at Brown University, where he helped establish, and then directed, their Population Studies and Training Center. This has long been an important resource in demography, as another Past PAA President, Robert Moffitt, recently discussed in his interview with the PAA History Committee. Here's a nice synopsis of some of Goldstein's important work in demography:
Sid’s specific area of interest was the migration of people within countries, especially their movement from rural to urban areas. Beginning with analyses of migration in the United States and Denmark, his focus shifted to less developed countries, including Thailand, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and South Africa. In each case, he was especially interested in the impact of rural-urban migration on the welfare and life patterns of the migrants and how they differed from those who were residentially stable. An important component of his work in these countries was the development of local expertise, so that the work that he had begun could be carried further by in-country researchers.
You can read more about his professional life in an interview that Jean van der Tak, former PAA Historian, conducted with him many years ago. It is on the website of the Population Association of America (it starts on page 313 of that document). Check out this rather amazing exchange between Jean (VDT) and Sidney Goldstein:
VDT: And you went through your Ph.D. program in just two years. You got the degree in 1953.
GOLDSTEIN: Was it that soon?
VDT: Yes. And Charlie Westoff and Richard Easterlin got Ph.D.s at Penn the same year.
GOLDSTEIN: Right. I still have movies of that commencement, in which the three of us are marching together down the line.
VDT: You marched together a long way in the same field.
GOLDSTEIN: I always thought that was symbolic. I've often thought back to that commencement, the three of us being together. And a number of years later, the three of us were presidents of PAA almost consecutively [Westoff, 1974-75; Goldstein, 1976-77; Easterlin, 1978].

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