Donald J. Bogue’s remarkable career spans more than six decades, during which he has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the population sciences, and produced an exemplary record of service to the field of demography. Dr. Bogue graduated with a BA in sociology from the State University of Iowa in 1939, and received his MA in sociology from Washington State College in 1940. Following military service in the US Navy from 1942-46, he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Michigan, where he received his PhD in 1949 with the dissertation, “The Structure of the Metropolitan Community: A Study of Dominance and Sub-dominance.”
Donald Bogue’s professional career began in 1947 at the Scripps Foundation at Miami University where he spearheaded many studies of migration and metropolitan structure and change, advocated demographic methods (state economic areas, techniques for population estimates), and in 1953 championed the need for an analysis of urban decentralization and suburban growth. In the landmark collaboration with Calvin Beale , Economic Areas of the United States (1953), Dr. Bogue identified and assessed the functional economic geography of the United States in its regional components. It was in this period that he provided the key chapters on “Population Distribution” and “Internal Migration” for the leading collection of demographic essays (Hauser and Duncan’s Study of Population) on the field’s state of knowledge. In 1959, he published The Population of the United States, a landmark treatise on the American population.
In 1964, Dr. Bogue edited, with noted Chicago urban sociologist Ernest Burgess, Contributions to Urban Sociology, which became a standard in the training of generations of urbanists. Alongside this substantive work, methodological work continued with papers detailing methods for indirect estimation of migration, postcensal population estimates and quality-of-data assessments. Such approaches are part of the legacy of technical demographic analyses that carry forward to today.
Never content to view the world only from the demographic data in his office, Donald Bogue also went directly into the field. In the case of urbanism, this is perhaps no better illustrated than in Skid Row in American Cities (1963). Here Dr. Bogue observed directly some of America’s most challenging urban settings of the time, conducting participant observation in Chicago’s Skid Row.
In 1964, Donald Bogue founded the journal Demography, and successfully advocated that it become the official journal of the Population Association of America (PAA). In 1964, he was elected President of PAA.
During the 1960s and continuing through the 1980s, when demographers increasingly focused on high fertility and population growth, Dr. Bogue was a consultant to key U.S. government, foundation, and international committees on population problems, family planning programs, and fertility research. He led the health and social sciences as a tireless advocate for family planning to reduce fertility and rapid population growth. In the tradition of the Chicago School of Sociology and its intellectual attention to social problems, Dr. Bogue devoted much of his research to understanding the influence of social structural and individual factors on fertility behaviors. Fertility was seen as the main driver of population growth in the developing world and family planning the primary intervention to reduce it.
Moreover, Dr. Bogue had the unparalleled foresight to assess the correlates of human fertility in the developing world and confidence in the potential of family planning programs, as a policy instrument, to affect it. He found particularly appealing the influence mass communication media could have in fostering ideational change. That confidence is shared today by many development quarters in what are now called behavioral change communication or social marketing programs, widely applied to HIV prevention, improved nutrition, and child survival measures.
The research that Dr. Bogue, his students, and his collaborators did on fertility and family planning were based on the science of demography and offered an optimistic perspective to the otherwise population crisis tone of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1967, Dr. Bogue wrote the controversial but prescient paper “The End of the Population Explosion,” that suggested that by the twenty-first century the “population explosion” would no longer be seen as the foremost problem in population research.
Donald Bogue was an early and creative advocate for the use of statistical methods in population research. In 1954, Dr. Bogue published an article on the use of multiple regression and covariance analysis in comparative population and urban research. In the 1970s, Dr. Bogue directed a project to improve the evaluation of family planning programs’ impact on fertility in low-income countries. At a time when
computing in the social sciences was in its infancy, Dr. Bogue developed universally accessible computer programs that focused on a particular technique of fertility and family planning analysis and each has a modern-day counterpart. These include programs for population projections and functional population projections, pregnancy history and birth interval analysis, the impact of contraception and marital status on birth rates, family planning service system statistics, and demographic evaluation methods to study family planning behaviors’ impact on fertility. These topics have been incorporated in demographic textbooks, the DHS contraceptive calendar, and management information systems, evidencing their enduring methodological relevance and Dr. Bogue’s considerable foresight.
Donald Bogue continues his demographic career through today, with the publication of a revised Population of the United States and Readings in Population Research Methodology, an exhaustive eight volume coverage of traditional to recent methods of demographic analysis. He has investigated the demographic implications of NAFTA. And he continues to train new demographers.
As former students and colleagues of Don, we are grateful for his teaching and mentoring, his commitment to our careers, his academic political skills, and his superb sense of humor. Don has an extraordinary six-decade career of scholarship, training, and professional service to the field of demography. We can imagine no better way to celebrate the field of demography from the late 1940s to the present than to recognize, Donald J. Bogue, one of its most influential, prolific, and celebrated pioneers.