Small Towns/Big Changes: the Shifting Demographics of Rural America
At an April 3, 2017 congressional briefing sponsored by PAA entitled Small Towns/Big Changes: the Shifting Demographics of Rural America, the findings presented to the standing-room-only audience served to validate some conventionally held assumptions and challenge others. As Dr. Daniel Lichter of Cornell University framed the issue, rural demographic trends can be characterized as the Three-D’s: Depopulation, Death [Rates] and Diversity. Yet as many rural areas struggle with relative population decline, sagging economies and an aging population base, some areas have managed to maintain or grow economic vitality – and these same communities often feature an influx in immigrant populations.
The first PAA congressional briefing of the new 115th Congress drew an audience of more than 70 people, from congressional staff to federal agency personnel to colleagues from other scientific and higher educational organizations. The briefing was co-sponsored by the American Sociological Association, the American Statistical Association, the Association of Population Centers, the Association of Public Data Users, the Consortium of Social Science Associations, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, the Population Reference Bureau, and the Rural Sociological Association; the congressional sponsor was Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)..
- Dr. Daniel Lichter, Cornell University, who provided an overview of the historical demographic trends in rural areas contrasted to the status of today’s rural America;
- Dr. Jennifer Van Hook, Pennsylvania State University, who discussed the impact of immigration on rural communities, using three case studies;
- Dr. Meredith Kleykamp, University of Maryland, who offered insights on the special relationship between rural communities and military service, and the profile of rural veterans;
- Dr. Wesley James,University of Memphis, who detailed the health and mortality trends taking place in rural America, and their implications for the future;
- Dr. Robert Moffitt, Johns Hopkins University and past president of PAA, moderated the panel.
[click on speaker name to view their slide presentation].
The topic of the briefing proved timely, given the political and cultural differences that have emerged in the past year – and evidenced by the standing-room-only crowd. And no doubt those who attended will continue to mull the implications of the evidence presented: “Nine out of ten rural areas are more diverse now than they were 20 years ago,” observed Dr. Van Hook; rural Americans are more likely to join the military than their urban counterparts, yet, “We do not know enough about what rural-origin service members do when they leave the military,” stated Dr. Kleykamp; and, according to Dr. James, rural deaths “are not created equal … Rural Americans die at a higher rate than urban Americans and it’s getting worse every year, “ with rural black Americans, middle-aged white women and men, the unemployed and people that have less than a high school education being hit the hardest.
All of the speakers spoke enthusiastically about the importance of investing in federal statistical agencies and surveys, including the American Community Survey and National Center for Health Statistics. This is an especially important message at a time when federal spending is being carefully scrutinized for potential spending cuts.
PAA and APC Bring Population Scientists to Capitol Hill for some March Madness
PAA Cosponsors Golden Goose Video Honoring Add Health
PAA Cosponsors Rally For Medical Research, Washington, DC, September 22
May 2 Congressional Briefing Showcased American Time Use Survey
On May 2, 2016, the Population Association of America (PAA) sponsored a congressional briefing, “Where Does the Time Go? Understanding Overwhelmed Working Families through the American Time Use Survey.” The event was organized with support from Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and cosponsored by nine organizations: American Economic Association, American Educational Research Association, American Sociological Association, American Statistical Association, Association of Population Centers, Consortium of Social Science Associations, Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, Population Reference Bureau, and SAGE Publishing.
The briefing, which attracted interest from over 100 congressional offices as well as officials from federal agencies and non-profit organizations in Washington, DC, featured research findings and programmatic uses of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS).
The speakers included:
- Dr. Liana Sayer, Director, University of Maryland Time Use Laboratory—Dr. Sayer, as a member of the PAA Board of Directors and national expert on time use research, opened the event, sharing examples of key research findings related to unpaid work, child care, and health outcomes, which her laboratory has generated using ATUS data.
- Ms. Brigid Schulte, the New York Times best-selling author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” and former Washington Post reporter–Ms. Schulte discussed major themes from her book, including what she learned about work-family life balance in the United States, and in her own life, by studying ATUS data. She also shared insights regarding time use in other countries and how U.S. families— and working women in particular—compare to their counterparts in other countries.
- Ms. Diane Herz, Vice President, Director of Survey Research, Mathematica Policy Research—As the founding ATUS Program Manager, Ms. Herz discussed the evolution of the ATUS and the survey’s initial challenges. She described how the survey’s design and implementation unfolded.
- Dr. Steven Martin, Senior Research Associate, Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population, Urban Institute—Dr. Martin shared his recently published research findings, which were informed by ATUS data, regarding the potential implications of delayed childbearing and permanent childlessness in the U.S.
- Ms. Rachel Krantz-Kent—Program Manager, ATUS, Bureau of Labor Statistics—Ms. Krantz-Kent provided an overview of the mission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and described how the ATUS is related to the agency’s mission. She also shared several examples of how federal agencies have used ATUS data to understand issues such as food deserts, time use by older people, sleep patterns in school-aged children, and travel and commuting burdens.
During the question and answer segment of the briefing, attendees asked a wide range of questions, addressing topics such as the status of funding for the BLS and ATUS, the survey’s geographic representativeness, and the survey’s unique ability to inform specific policy issues. For more information, access the presenters’ slides here.
PAA/APC Represented at Hill Showcase of NSF Funded Research
Dr. Louis Donnelly represented PAA and APC at the 22nd annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Exhibition on Capitol Hill on April 27, 2016. The annual event showcases roughly three dozen different exhibits for the purpose of demonstrating the breadth and depth of NSF-funded research to an audience that includes of Members of Congress, congressional staff, federal agency officials and members of the scientific and university-based research communities.
Dr. Donnelly presented the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), the groundbreaking longitudinal study of nearly 5,000 children born between 1998 and 2000 in cities across the nation – approximately three-quarters of whom were born to unmarried parents. It is the largest longitudinal study of nontraditional families in the nation and through 5 waves of data collection has yielded significant findings on an array of topics, from changes in family structure to the children’s cognitive and emotional development. The FFCWS is a joint collaboration between Princeton and Columbia Universities; Dr. Donnelly is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton.
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.
View the speaker slides:
Pamela Davidson (GAO)
Julie Topoleski (CBO)
Jennifer Williams (CRS)
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).
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
- Dr. Kathleen Short, U.S. Census Bureau – Measuring Poverty in the United States
- Dr. John Iceland, Pennsylvania State University – Poverty in America 50 Years after the War on Poverty
- Dr. Colleen Heflin, University of Missouri – The War on Poverty and Material Hardship
PAA members presenting at the Congressional briefing on 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
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.
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
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