Norman B. Ryder
Professor of Sociology, Emeritus
Larry Bumpass came to the University of Wisconsin in 1971, after earning his PhD in Sociology at the University of Michigan and spending time at Princeton’s Office of Population Research. In his years at Wisconsin he has served as director of graduate studies (1976-78) and director of the Center for Demography and Ecology (1977-80). He has also served as editor of Demography (1978-1981) and President of the Population Association of America (1990).
Among his most important contributions to the population research, Larry along with Jim Sweet, co-directed the National Survey of Families and Households. This longitudinal survey provided a broad view of changing patterns of family formation, marital roles, parenting, family instability, and intergenerational relationships. This survey has been employed in over a 1,000 books, journal articles, theses, and reports, helping to solidify family demography as a field.
Larry’s scholarly contributions also include four books: The Later Years of Childbearing, with Charles Westoff (1970); Social Demography, co-edited with Karl Taeuber and Jim Sweet (1978); American Families and Households, also co-authored with Jim Sweet; and Marriage, Work, and Family Life in Comparative Perspective: Japan, South Korea, and the United States, Co-edited with Noriko Tsuya. In combination with his numerous journal publications, book chapters, and reports these works document changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, fertility, and contraceptive behavior. This work also investigates the implications of these trends for the family lives of adults and children. In recent years, his research has been increasingly cross-cultural and comparative, focusing especially on the growth of cohabitation and marital instability within Japan.
In recognition of these accomplishments, he has received numerous awards. In 1996, he became Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1997 he was awarded the American Sociological Association Distinguished Career Award, and in 2001 he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Larry’s devotion to the family goes far beyond research. He has helped launch the careers of many students and postdoctoral scholars and provided valuable advice and support to junior colleagues. The family most dear to him, however, includes his wife Jan, his daughters, Carri and Shauna, and granddaughters, Tessa, Celeste, Chloe, Stephenie, Jessie and Josie.