Barbara A. Anderson is the Ronald Freedman Collegiate Professor of Sociology and Population Studies in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan. She is also a Research Professor at the Population Studies Center (where she has served as Training Director and Center Director), an active member of the Institute for Social Research (where she has served on the executive committee) and active in a variety of international research and teaching efforts at the University of Michigan. Barbara is the former Director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies in addition to being actively engaged in the African Studies program. Professor Anderson currently serves as the Chairperson of the United States Census Scientific Advisory Committee.
A National Merit Scholar, Barbara received her A.B. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton, where she was a National Institutes of Health Trainee in Demography. After working at the Economic Growth Center and Department of Sociology at Yale, she joined the Sociology faculty at Brown as an Associate Professor in 1976. In 1984 she moved to the University of Michigan as Professor of Sociology, where she continues to serve as a core faculty member of the PRC and the Center of Russian and East European Studies.
A long standing member of the Population Association of America, Barbara has filled a wide variety of important leadership roles in population science, sociology and international studies. Informed by her impressive history of externally funded research, she has served on a wide variety of review boards and committees for institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research. Her leadership service with organizations such as the Hewlett, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the International Research Exchange, the Woodrow Wilson International Center, Fulbright, and the Social Science Research Council include a strong focus on expanding research infrastructure, funding and training opportunities for demographers across the globe.
Well-known as a leading expert on the demography of the former Soviet Union, Barbara’s research informs an impressive array of topics in the United States as well as China and South Africa. The reach and scope of her scholarly work is reflected in her past and current presence on a dizzying collection of editorial boards including Demography, Population and Society, American Journal of Sociology, Social Science History, Historical Methods, Soviet Geography and the Southern African Journal of Demography. Her research contributions across the fields of migration, mortality, fertility and the assessment of data quality reflect a unifying focus on the importance of precision, context and comparability. Her most recent book, World Population Dynamics: An Introduction to Demography (Pearson) both draws on the breadth of her demographic expertise and exemplifies her commitment to training future demographers.
Barbara is a tireless mentor, making valuable contributions to the careers of hundreds of her students and junior colleagues at home and abroad. An especially important ally for young women in the academy, her standard advice on wearing “steel toed pumps” helps to remind them that sometimes doors need to be blocked open, and sometimes, perhaps, even kicked open. Petite, but feisty, she richly deserves a place on the list of PAA honored colleagues.