Home > People > U-M Researchers . Off-Campus . Training . Postdocs . Predocs . Staff . Experts . Disciplines

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Thompson says America must "unchoose" policies that have led to mass incarceration

Axinn says new data on campus rape will "allow students to see for themselves the full extent of this problem"

Frey says white population is growing in Detroit and other large cities


Susan Murphy to speak at U-M kickoff for data science initiative, Oct 6, Rackham

Andrew Goodman-Bacon, former trainee, wins 2015 Nevins Prize for best dissertation in economic history

Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 5 at noon, 6050 ISR
Colter Mitchell: Biological consequences of poverty

Arland Thornton

Research Professor, Population Studies Center.

Professor, Sociology.

Research Professor, Survey Research Center.

Ph.D., University of Michigan

Arland Thornton is Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, where he is also a Research Professor at the Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center. He is a social demographer who has served as president of the Population Association of America and currently holds a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health. For much of his career, Thornton has focused on the study of family and demographic issues, with a particular emphasis on marriage, cohabitation, divorce, childbearing, intergenerational relations, and gender roles. He has received four awards for his books as well as a distinguished career award from the American Sociological Association. During the past decade Thornton has devoted considerable time and energy studying developmental idealism and its influence in many areas of the world. His 2001 presidential address to the Population Association of America focused on this topic, as does his award-winning book entitled Reading History Sideways: the Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life. Of particular importance for Thornton’s current work are the ways in which values, beliefs, and people have been and are being distributed around the world. His work (in collaboration with others) has involved conceptualization, measurement, and analysis of data from several countries, including Albania, Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Malawi, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the U.S., and Vietnam.

Recent Publications


Jayakody, Rukmalie, Arland Thornton, and William Axinn. 2008. . (Eds)International Family Change: Ideational Perspectives. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland, William Axinn, and Yu Xie. 2007. Marriage and Cohabitation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland. 2005. Reading History Sideways: the Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life. Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press. Abstract.

Journal Articles

Allendorf, Keera, and Arland Thornton. 2015. "Caste and Choice: The Influence of Developmental Idealism on Marriage Behavior." American Journal of Sociology, 121(1): 243-287. DOI. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland, Shawn F. Dorius, and Jeffrey Swindle. 2015. "Developmental Idealism: The Cultural Foundations of World Development Programs." Sociology of Development, 1(2). DOI. Abstract.

Lai, Qing, and Arland Thornton. 2015. "The making of family values: Developmental idealism in Gansu, China." Social Science Research, 51: 174-188. PMCID: PMC4359717. DOI. Abstract.

Williams, Nathalie, Arland Thornton, and Linda C. Young-DeMarco. 2014. "Migrant Values and Beliefs: How Are They Different and How Do They Change?" Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40(5): 796-813. PMCID: PMC3927938. DOI. Abstract.

Thornton, Arland, Rachael Pierotti, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Susan Watkins. 2014. "Developmental Idealism and Cultural Models of the Family in Malawi." Population Research and Policy Review, 33(5): 693-716. PMCID: PMC4153731. DOI. Abstract.

Binstock, Georgina, Arland Thornton, M.J. Abbasi-Shavazi, Dirgha Ghimire, Yu Xie, and K.M. Yount. 2013. "Influences on the knowledge and beliefs of ordinary people about developmental hierarchies." International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 54(4): 325-344. PMCID: PMC3952150. DOI. Abstract.

Kavas, Serap, and Arland Thornton. 2013. "Adjustment and Hybridity in Turkish Family Change: Perspectives from Developmental Idealism." Journal of Family History, 38(2): 223-241. DOI. Abstract.

View additional select publications of Arland Thornton

Current PSC Trainees:

Yuan He, Jeffrey Swindle.