Office of Population Research

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Office of Population Research
Wallace Hall.jpg
Wallace Hall, home to the Office of Population Research
Established1936 (1936)
Parent institution
Princeton University
DirectorDouglas S. Massey
Academic staff
38 professors, lecturers, and researchers (2018)[1]
Students29 graduate students (2018)[2]
Location, ,
United States

40°20′57″N 74°39′13″W / 40.34914°N 74.65362°W / 40.34914; -74.65362Coordinates: 40°20′57″N 74°39′13″W / 40.34914°N 74.65362°W / 40.34914; -74.65362

The Office of Population Research (OPR) at Princeton University is the oldest population research center in the United States. Founded in 1936, the OPR is a leading demographic research and training center.[3] Recent research activity has primarily focused on healthcare, social demography, urbanization, and migration. The OPR's research has been cited in numerous articles by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.[4][5][6]


Major General, heir, and eugenicist Frederick H. Osborn, a graduate of Princeton University, laid the foundation for the Office of Population Research in 1936.[7] The founding director of OPR was Frank W. Notestein, who was a demographer at the Milbank Memorial Fund, a leading peer-reviewed healthcare journal. While at the OPR, he was also the director of the Population Division of the United Nations between 1946 and 1948. He left in 1959 to lead the Population Council, an international, nonprofit, non-governmental organization. He was succeeded as OPR director by Ansley J. Coale, who held the post from 1959 to 1975. One of the early faculty appointments was Irene Barnes Taeuber, whose scholarly work helped found the science of demography.[8]

The current Director of the OPR is Douglas Massey, an American sociologist and Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.


The OPR offers four degrees and certifications for graduate students at Princeton:[9]

  • Ph.D. in Demography
  • Department Degree with Specialization in Population
  • Joint-Degree Program in Demography and Social Policy
  • Certificate in Demography

Ph.D. in Demography[edit]

The Ph.D. in Demography enrolls a small number of graduate students with an interest in population research and strong quantitative backgrounds, such as statistics and mathematics. The program allows students to select up to two fields of concentration.[10]

Department Degree with Specialization in Population[edit]

Doctoral candidates in other departments at Princeton are able to work towards a specialization in Population. Most of these students work primarily in the Departments of Economics or Sociology, while some may also come from the Departments of History or Politics.[11]

Joint-Degree Program[edit]

The Joint-Degree Program allows students interested specifically in Social Policy to apply for a specialized program. Students apply after their first or second year of graduate study and must complete additional coursework in “Issues in Inequality and Social Policy,” and “Advanced Empirical Workshop.”[12] In the 2018-2019 academic year, there were nine students concentrating in Social Policy.

Certificate in Demography[edit]

The Office of Population Research, in connection with the Program in Population Studies, offers a non-degree Certificate in Demography for students who complete four approved courses, one Independent Reading course, and one elective. Students must complete an individual or joint-research project under the supervision of an OPR faculty or research. Students who complete this certificate are often enrolled in the Master's of Public Administration program at the Woodrow Wilson School.[13]



Research conducted at the OPR falls within six categories:[14]


The OPR maintains close relations with other departments within the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Because of its inherent interdisciplinary research, the OPR works with researchers at the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing (CRCW), the Center for Migration and Development (CMD), and the Center for Health and Wellbeing (CHW).[15] Outside of Princeton, the OPR maintains partnerships with some of the world's leading research centers, including the Wiggenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.[16][17]


  1. ^ "Faculty". Office of Population Research.
  2. ^ "Graduate Students". Office of Population Research.
  3. ^ "Office of Population Research". JSTOR.
  4. ^ Board, The Editorial (2015-09-15). "How Segregation Destroys Black Wealth". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Kills 99.9% of Germs -- Under Some Lab Conditions". The Wall Street Journal.
  6. ^ "F.D.A. Approves 5-Day Emergency Contraceptive". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "The Office of Population Research". A Princeton Companion.
  8. ^ Frank W. Notestein, Obituary: Irene Barnes Taeuber 1906-1974, Population Index, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Jan., 1974) JSTOR 2733535
  9. ^ "Programs of Study". The Office of Population Research.
  10. ^ "Programs of Study". The Office of Population Research.
  11. ^ "Programs of Study". The Office of Population Research.
  12. ^ "Degree Requirements". Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
  13. ^ "Programs of Study". The Office of Population Research.
  14. ^ "Research at OPR". The Office of Population Research.
  15. ^ "Research". Office of Population Research.
  16. ^ "Partners". Wittgenstein Centre.
  17. ^ "Links". United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

External links[edit]