Sidney Goldstein is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Brown University, where he retired as the George Hazard Crooker University Professor in 1993. He is a former chair of the Sociology Department and the founder and first director of the Population Studies and Training Center, which he led for 24 years. During his tenure leading the center he worked tirelessly to develop the PSTC into an internationally renowned research unit with an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches to demography. Sid served as president of the Population Association of America in 1975-76.
Sid received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an instructor for two years before moving to Brown in 1955 for the duration of his career.
Sid is internationally recognized for his long-standing and fundamental contributions to the study of urbanization and population mobility. He contributed significantly to the field with the development of the concept of repeat migration. Moreover, working with government agencies, the United Nations, and other organizations, Sid pioneered new techniques for the collection and recording of demographic data, including the use of administrative and other records to complement surveys. Sid is author of more than three dozen books and monographs and numerous scholarly articles, several of which he co-authored with his wife, Alice Goldstein.
From his work in the U.S., Sid expanded broadly to developing countries, continuing to work on population redistribution, urbanization, and types of migration, as well as the exploring effects of migration on fertility and expanding understanding of complex migration processes. Migration researchers around the world are indebted to Sid for highlighting the key role of migration and urbanization in demographic change at a time when much of the demographic research community’s focus was on fertility and mortality. Much of his work has focused on Asia, especially Thailand and China, and then extended to Africa.
Sid served as the Population Council’s Demographic Advisor for the Institute of Population Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and chaired the committee on urbanization at the International Union of the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP). Following the opening of the People’s Republic of China, Sid, in 1979, was one of the first demographers to enter that country, where there were very few available statistics on migration and the official policy had strictly controlled population mobility. His work on internal migration documented the important role of temporary movement in that country in response to economic changes and government policies. He was recognized with the IUSSP Laureate Award in 2005. In addition to several visiting appointments at leading population centers around the globe, Sid received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.
Sid is also internationally recognized for his contributions in the demography of American Jewry, using geographic mobility to explain levels of assimilation or cohesion and producing benchmark statements in the field. Sid was recognized in 2011 with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry.
Along with his impressive research and administrative record, he generously supported the careers of students and junior scholars. Through his teaching, mentoring, and administrative roles, he passed along the principles of intellectual integrity to his undergraduates and scores of doctoral students, many of whom now hold key positions around the world. His door was always open to students, and there are hundreds who remember sitting with him at his cluttered desk discussing how to make a paper or a chapter clearer, more focused, and all that demographic research is meant to be. As he had hoped, they are now passing along those skills to their students at universities throughout the world.