Frank Mott grew up in New York City and received his B.S. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958. His first job was as a statistician with the U.S. Department of the Navy in Newport, RI where among other projects he did quality testing on torpedos! He then went to the University of Pennsylvania to earn an MA in Economics in 1962 before working for 8 years as a Demographic and Economic Researcher at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington DC. Frank’s final stint in higher education was at Brown University where he gained his PhD in Sociology in 1972, one of the many successful demographers mentored by Sid
Goldstein. Frank then returned to the Demographic Research Group for a year as Acting Chief before spending two years with the Population Council in Nigeria where he was a visiting professor at the University of Lagos and helped develop the population research institute there. On his return to the United States, Frank moved to Columbus, OH where he spent the rest of his career at the Center for Human Resource Research at The Ohio State University, with a one year leave of absence in 1980-81 to return to Africa (this time Kenya) for the Population Council. While in Kenya he undertook extensive research on mortality using data from the WFS and also worked with David Sly on Ford Foundation sponsored migration surveys in 4 rural sub locations.
Anyone who has ever visited Frank at his house knows that his time living in Africa impacted his life tremendously as African artwork fills the shelves and walls. Frank also published papers on rural fertility, health care, population and education trends and mortality (in Nigeria) and labor force and employment, infant mortality and fertility (in Kenya), and incorporated his knowledge of health and family structure issues in Africa when teaching graduate seminars in the Sociology Department at OSU.
Frank has also undertaken important demographic work on the Jewish Population of the United States. Along with his wife, Sociologist and Demographer Susan Mott, Frank undertook the 1990 Columbus Jewish Demographic Survey for the Columbus Jewish Federation, and as a member of the National Council of Jewish Federation’s National Technical Advisory Committee he co-chaired the committee that planned and carried out the 2000 National Jewish Sample survey.
Frank is best known, however, for his long tenure with the National Longitudinal Studies. In 1972-73 he was the project officer for the NLS in the U.S. Department of Labor, and for many years he had the lead responsibility maintaining the qualitative and quantitative integrity of the original Young Women’s NLS cohort initiated in 1968. Frank was also responsible for the development and incorporation of an extensive battery of questions into the NLSY79 from 1982 onwards on contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, breast feeding, and medical care during pregnancy and after childbirth. And Frank was one of the key architects of the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult surveys that began in 1986 and 1994 respectively, to measure physiological, socio-emotional and intellectual development of all children born to the female respondents in the NLSY79. These data have been used extensively over the past 30 years by researchers across a broad range of disciplines and many countries throughout the world to understand the development of children and youth from birth through late adolescence, and to link child trajectories within a life course framework to data collected contemporaneously from their mothers. One of Frank’s greatest legacies to the social science community stems from his own multidisciplinary background in demography, economics and sociology, and his encouragement of others to also think creatively and longitudinally when using the NLS data.