Germán Rodríguez has made outstanding contributions to the field of demography through his research, collaborations, training for a generation of demographers, assistance to the Population Association of America and support for the field in general.
Germán received his PhD in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then moved to London where he played a crucial role in the design and analysis of the path breaking World Fertility Survey (WFS). At the time, the WFS was the largest social survey ever undertaken and it was conducted in some 45 developing countries. In the early 1980s, Germán returned to Chile and became Department Chair in Statistics at the Catholic University of Chile. In 1987, he moved again, this time to a position as Senior Research Demographer (with the rank of Professor with Tenure) at the Office of Population, Princeton University. He has held this position since then.
Germán’s research has ranged from novel studies of contraceptive availability, socioeconomic determinants of fertility, birth spacing, lactational amenorrhea, and breastfeeding to more recent research on the effects of tempo in fertility patterns and the health of older adults. He has made important contributions to demographic methodology, including nuptiality and marital fertility models, survival analysis methods for birth intervals, and estimation of multilevel models. He has also been an outstanding collaborator and advisor on many other research projects and guided many junior and senior researchers through complex methodological problems.
Among Germán’s most important contributions has been training a generation of demographers in demographic methods and, particularly, in statistical approaches to demographic problems. For many years, he has been teaching graduate courses in demographic methods, generalized linear models, multilevel models, and survival analysis. His lecture notes, readily available online, have served as an invaluable resource not only to current and former students but to the profession at large.
Germán has also had a very important role in supporting the profession of demography and population studies both at the national and international levels. Among other contributions, he has served on NIH study sections, the Demographic and Health Survey Scientific Advisory Group, and several committees of the IUSSP and PAA. His least known (except to PAA presidents and PAA Staff) contribution is the design, implementation, and management of PAMPA, the software used to organize PAA Annual Meetings for the last 15 years. Before PAMPA, organizing the PAA Annual Meetings was a very laborious process requiring extensive typing, hand processing, and list and entry juggling. PAMPA has been so successful that it was adopted by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) for their General Conferences, the European Population Conferences, and the Union for African Population Studies Conferences.