The University of Michigan's Population Studies Center (PSC) was established in 1961, originally as a unit within the Department of Sociology. In 1966 the Center established close connections to the Department of Economics, and since that time has become increasingly interdisciplinary, currently drawing faculty from more than a dozen academic disciplines.
Center affiliates are population researchers who pursue independent research with the support of Center staff. PSC supports a large portfolio of both domestic and international research in several key areas of demographic research: Health and Social Inequalities; Social-Biological Interactions; Population Health and Well-being; Families, Fertility, and Children; Population Dynamics; and Methodologies and Data.
In 1991 PSC became an autonomous unit within U-M's College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts (LS&A). In 1998, the Center made an institutional move from LS&A into the Institute for Social Research (ISR), followed by a physical relocation in 2003. For PSC affiliates, this integration into ISR heightened opportunities for collegiality and collaborative work, and provides better access to knowledge activities focused on survey methodologies, especially those related to large data collections.
The Center provides pre- and post-award research support services to affiliates through four core units. Administrative Core staff provide management and administrative support for research affiliates and their funded projects. Computing Core staff provide a state-of-the-art social science computing environment to support the Center's research and training missions. Information Core staff provide resources and services in three areas. Data Services assists in the acquisition, organization, and management of data for PSC research projects. Library Services maintains a collection of local holdings and offers a variety of bibliographic and references services in support of research. The Communications Office provides editorial, design, website, and database services to researchers, and disseminates research results through the working papers series. The Methodology Core, jointly operated with the Survey Research Center, provides guidance for research issues arising in survey design, implementation, and data analysis.
PSC provides apprenticeship training and fellowship support to graduate students in Sociology, Economics, and Public Health who choose population studies as a field of specialization. The goal of the graduate training program is to produce social scientists, fully trained in their discipline, with broad knowledge in population studies and specialized skills in statistical and demographic techniques. Although the Center does not award graduate degrees, all PSC student trainees gain practical research experience under the supervision of an affiliated researcher. The Center also provides postdoctoral training to demographic researchers in a variety of fields.
PSC was established with funding from the Ford Foundation, which maintained that support for more than 20 years. Since 1976 the Center has received support in the form of a population center grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (R24 HD041028). This grant provides infrastructure support for the Center's research activities, including staffing. The Center also administers the Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (MiCDA), funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA).