Pamela Smock to direct ISR Population Studies Center

February 2, 2010

ANN ARBOR—Sociologist Pamela Smock has been appointed director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

Smock will begin her three-year term on July 1, 2010.

“Pam is definitely the right choice to lead the center, and I look forward to her valuable contributions both in providing effective leadership at the center level and in contributing to the preeminent position of ISR in the social and behavioral sciences,” said ISR Director James Jackson.

Smock, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at U-M and a research professor at ISR, is a family demographer. Her scholarship focuses on the causes and consequences of family patterns and change, examining their intersections with social class, racial/ethnic, and gender inequalities.

She has published research on issues including cohabitation, the economic consequences of divorce and marriage, nonresident fatherhood, child support, remarriage and the motherhood wage penalty. She is widely cited in scholarly literature and frequently quoted on gender and family issues in the mainstream media. At U-M, Smock has worked on numerous departmental, ISR, LS&A and university-level committees.

“I am delighted and honored to be the next director of the Population Studies Center,” Smock said. “The center is home to cutting-edge research by leaders in the field on core issues in population studies, including health, aging, inequality and poverty, reproductive health, family formation, and the role of attitudes and values on population processes.

“The work undertaken at the center also spans the globe, from Nepal to South Africa to China. As the next steward of the Population Studies Center, my goal is to facilitate and support the first-rate population research being undertaken at the center. This research both advances scientific knowledge and is integral to understanding societies, social change and enhancing human welfare. I also look forward to working more closely with the superb center and ISR staff, and with my colleagues, a group of truly outstanding researchers.”

Smock received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin and was an assistant professor of sociology at Louisiana State University for two years before joining U-M. She has served as associate director of the ISR Population Studies Center and as associate director of ISR from 2002 to 2005.

Smock served as chair and member of the Population Sciences Subcommittee of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a member of the National Science Foundation’s Sociology Advisory Panel, chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Family, member of numerous committees of the Population Association of America, and serves on the editorial board of Demography.

A prolific author and researcher, Smock has been the principal investigator on several major federal grants, including “Integrating U.S. Fertility Surveys,” funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The goal of this project, currently underway, is to produce a harmonized dataset of U.S. family and fertility surveys spanning nearly 50 years, starting with the1955 Growth of American Families survey. This early survey was conducted by the late demographer Ronald Freedman, who founded the Population Studies Center in 1961.

Established in 1949, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research is the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization, and a world leader in developing and applying social science methodology, and in educating researchers and students from around the world. ISR conducts some of the most widely cited studies in the nation, including the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumer Attitudes, the American National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, the Columbia County Longitudinal Study and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the world’s largest digital social science data archive. Visit the ISR Web site at for more information.