PAA is a non-profit, scientific, professional organization that promotes research on population issues.


Congressional Activities

How Congress Uses Demographic Data

“How Congress Uses Demographic Data,” was the topic of a widely attended GPAC session at #PAA2016, featuring speakers from four agencies within the congressional branch: the Congressional Research Service (CRS); the General Accountability Office (GAO), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Senate Budget Committee. Panelists provided a comprehensive overview of each agency’s (or committee’s) mission and how demographic data is used to support research, analysis and evaluation in connection with legislative and oversight activities.

Pictured (L-R): Pamela Davidson, GAO; Julie Topoleski, CBO; Jennifer Williams, CRS; and William Beech, former Chief Economist, Senate Budget Committee and currently VP of PolicyResearch at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University.

Pictured (L-R): Pamela Davidson, GAO; Julie Topoleski, CBO; Jennifer Williams, CRS; and William Beech, former Chief Economist, Senate Budget Committee and currently VP of PolicyResearch at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University.

View the speaker slides:

Pamela Davidson (GAO)

Julie Topoleski (CBO)

Jennifer Williams (CRS)


2016 PAA Excellence in Public Service Awards

On March 30, 2016, PAA president Judith A. Seltzer presented the PAA Excellence in Public Service Awards to three deserving individuals drawn from the U.S. Senate, congressional staff, and the federal civil service. The presentations took place at a reception sponsored by the Committee on Applied Demography and co-sponsored by the Government and Public Affairs Committee (GPAC).

PAA President Judith Seltzer and Allen Cutler, Senate staff

PAA President Judith Seltzer and Allen Cutler, Senate staff

Mr. Allen Cutler, a professional staff member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, was cited for his pragmatic, professional and bi-partisan approach to funding key agencies of interest to PAA, most notably the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Census Bureau.

Judith Seltzer and Molly McCarthy, office of Sen. Mikulski

Seltzer and Molly McCarthy, office of Sen. Mikulski

Accepting on behalf of Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) was Molly O’Rourke McCarthy, a member of Senator Mikulski’s Appropriations Committee staff. Senator Mikulski, who was unable to attend, was acknowledged for her indispensable support for funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH), NSF and Census, and for her tireless and strong defense for the merit and peer review systems at NIH and NSF.

Seltzer and Jennifer Madans, NCHS

Seltzer and Jennifer Madans, NCHS

PAA member Jennifer Madans was recognized for her outstanding career at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and her contributions to advancing a robust data collection system, including innovations in including vital statistics in NCHS data sets.

Not present at the March 30 was the final Excellence in Public Service recipient, the Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Congresswoman Johnson, who serves as the ranking member of the House Science Committee, has been a tireless champion to safeguard the independence of the merit review system at NSF, and has been outspoken in support of the social and behavioral sciences, in particular with regard to the SBE Directorate at NSF. Congresswoman Johnson accepted her award from 2015 PAA President Steve Ruggles and GPAC Chair Wendy Baldwin in her office on March 14, 2016. (See picture below.)

PAA Presents Public Service Award to Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Pictured left to right: Steven Ruggles, PAA Past President; Rep. Johnson; and Wendy Baldwin

Pictured left to right: Steven Ruggles, PAA Past President; Rep. Johnson; and Wendy Baldwin, Chair GPAC Committee

Washington, DC—On March 14, 2016, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) was presented the 2016 PAA Excellence in Public Service Award by PAA’s Immediate Past President Steve Ruggles and GPAC Chair Wendy Baldwin.  Johnson was recognized for her steadfast support for federal funding for behavioral and social science, and her staunch defense of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s independence in setting research priorities based on its rigorous and highly esteemed merit review process. Rep. Johnson has had a long and distinguished career in Congress and currently serves as the Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. In this role she has vigorously fought efforts to interfere with NSF’s ability to set a federal research agenda, for instance by congressional targeting of individual grant awards or by efforts to allocate federal appropriations by directorate. The PAA award was presented to Congresswoman Johnson in her Capitol Hill office.

PAA Meets with NIH Director

On January 13, PAA/APC Director of Government Affairs, Mary Jo Hoeksema (pictured below fourth from right) met with the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, and Director of the National Institute on Aging, Dr. Richard Hodes, and Deputy Director of the National Institute on Aging, Dr. Marie Bernard. Participating in the meeting as a member of the Friends of NIA Executive Committee, Mary Jo was the only representative of the behavioral and social science research community in attendance. During the course of the meeting she thanked Dr. Collins for appointing Dr. Bill Riley, Director of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, encouraged NIH and NIA to continue investing in behavioral and social sciences research, and expressed the community’s interest in the recently released NIH announcement on health economics research.

PAA Meets with NIH Director

PAA Members Brief Congress on Impact of Education on Mortality and Health

PAA to Host July 27 Congressional Briefing on Education and Mortality

Capitol Hill Staff Enthralled with PAA Experts’ Findings

July 27, 2015—A standing-room-only crowd gathered for a serving of ice cream and cutting edge social science research at a PAA-sponsored Congressional briefing entitled: Live Long and Prosper: the Impact of Education on Mortality. More than 100 participants attended the briefing—including congressional staff, federal agency officials and representatives from other scientific associations—which featured a panel of leading experts from government and academia: Dr. Robert Kaplan, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Dr. Vida Maralani, Yale University; Dr. Ryan Masters, University of Colorado-Boulder; and, Dr. Jennifer Montez, Syracuse University.

The speakers presented evidence that pointed to a compelling linkage between educational attainment and long-term health and mortality. Dr. Kaplan’s remarks provided important context about the state of health and longevity in the U.S. compared to other industrialized nations. Dr. Masters shared additional historical data about the causes and nature of mortality in the U.S. over time. Dr. Montez presented findings that demonstrated how the data point specifically to the impact of education as a key factor in health and longevity, even when controlling for other social and economic factors. Finally, Dr. Maralani delved into the connection between education and certain behaviors that directly affect health, namely, tobacco use—providing evidence that education plays a role in the choices we make that have direct health consequences. [Links to these slide presentations are included below].

The congressional sponsor for the briefing was Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who also facilitated PAA’s use of the meeting room. The briefing was co-sponsored by the Association of Population Centers, the American Sociological Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Psychological Association, the Consortium of Social Science Associations, and the Population Reference Bureau. Logistical and technical support was provided by CRD Associates. PAA is grateful to the co-sponsoring organizations and Rep. DeLauro for their support for this event.

Links to the presentations can be found here:

Dr. Robert Kaplan

Dr. Ryan Masters

Dr. Jennifer Montez

Dr. Vida Maralani

PAA & APC Brief Congress on How Marriage, Divorce and Family Affect Health & Well-being

Washington, DC, April 17, 2015–The PAA and APC’s most recent congressional briefing—The Vow Factor: Marriage, Divorce and Family Formation and its Impact on Health and Well-being—highlighted current and relevant research about the implications of relational and family structure through the lens of long-term health and well-being. The briefing examined historical trends in marriage and family formation, then delved into topics such as:  child welfare in the context of family structure; a comparison of longevity and long-term health outcomes for child-bearing women depending on factors such as single vs. partnered parenting, child care responsibilities and paid leave arrangements; and the impact of the absence or presence of fathers in the outcomes of children.

A distinguished gathering of experts comprised the panel, including Dr. Lisa Berkman (Harvard), Dr. Andrew Cherlin (Johns Hopkins) and Dr. Elizabeth Peters (Urban Institute), with Immediate Past President Dr. Robert Moffitt (Johns Hopkins) serving as moderator.  The briefing was well attended by congressional staff, representatives from key federal agencies and colleagues from other scientific organizations. PAA/APC is grateful to the following organizations for co-sponsoring the briefing, providing financial and in-kind support:  Alliance for Aging Research; American Economic Association; American Sociological Association; American Statistical Association; Consortium of Social Science Associations; Gerontological Society of America; Population Reference Bureau; Society for Child Research and Development. We also express our sincere appreciation to Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard for sponsoring the event.

To view the video of the panelists’ presentations, provided by the Population Reference Bureau, click here.

Featured presenters:

Vow Factor Berkman 4 17 15

Dr. Lisa Berkman (Harvard)

PAA Congressional Briefing on Poverty, June 9, 2014


On June 9, 2014 PAA and APC, in conjunction with the Office of Congressman Mike Honda, hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill “The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later and the Battle Continues.”
This year marks the fifty year anniversary since President Johnson declared the War on Poverty. Nonetheless, 46.5 million Americans continue to live in poverty. To most effectively address poverty, we need to better understand who is poor and how well current federal assistance programs address their needs.

The briefing featured presentations by national experts who explained how we measure poverty, what we know about the current picture of poverty in America, and how well certain federal programs are working to improve the lives of poor and working poor Americans.

Featured speakers:

  1. Dr. Kathleen Short, U.S. Census Bureau – Measuring Poverty in the United States
  2. Dr. John Iceland, Pennsylvania State University – Poverty in America 50 Years after the War on Poverty
  3. Dr. Colleen Heflin, University of Missouri – The War on Poverty and Material Hardship

PAA members presenting at the Congressional briefing on June 9, 2014.

Poverty Briefing Photo June 9 2014









Pictured left to right: Dr. Linda A. Jacobsen, Population Reference Bureau; Dr. Kathleen Short, U.S. Census Bureau; Dr. Colleen Heflin,
University of Missouri, and Dr. John Iceland, Pennsylvania State University

 Past Briefings


Hill Visits and Federal Agency Meetings

On March 10 and 11, 2014 a delegation of 11 PAA and APC members visited  Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of Population research


On March to 1o and 11, 2014, representatives from the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers participated in the organizations’
annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Days. These dedicated PAA members conducted over 30 meetings with key congressional staff, Members of Congress, and White House
officials to advocate for the population sciences and the federal agencies that fund the field.

2014 Hill delegation

Caption: Top row from left to right: Dr. Jarron Saint Onge, University of Kansas;
Dr. Robert Bozick, RAND; Dr. Kari White, University of Alabama, Birmingham;
Dr. Linda Jacobsen, Population Reference Bureau; Mr. Stephen Tordello,
Decision Demographics; Dr. Robert Wallace, University of Iowa; Dr. Wendy Baldwin
and Dr. Daniel Lichter, Cornell.

Bottom row from left to right: Dr. Pamela Smock, University of Michigan;
Dr. Cristina Bradatan, Texas Tech; Dr. Vida Maralani

Past Hill Visits and Federal Agency Meetings

Excellence in Public Service Award

Representative Roybal-Allard received the 2014 PAA Excellence in Public Service Award

Roybal-Allard receiving award 2014

Representative Roybal-Allard (CA) (center) receiving the 2014 PAA Excellence in
Public Service Award from Dr. Robert Bozick, RAND and Dr. Linda Jacobsen, Population Reference Bureau.


Exhibitions on Capitol Hill

Past Exhibitions on Capitol Hill