Wilson Center Experts

Michael White

Fellow

Affiliation:
Professor of Sociology and Associate Director, Population Studies and Training Center, Brown University
Wilson Center Project(s):
"Population, Development and Urbanization"
Term:
Sep 01, 2000
-
May 01, 2001

I have always been fascinated by geographical mobility and population distribution:

  • When and why to people move?
  • How well do they adapt to their destination?
  • How segregated are different groups in cities, and how has this changed over time?

I have combined this interest with a deep concern for public policy:

  • To what extent is population movement the result of policy?
  • How might national and local policies influence the location and relocation of persons?

You can trace these two themes throughout my academic career: from my undergraduate major in urban studies at Harvard University, to my early lecturing on urban planning, to my current research pursuits at Brown University and elsewhere, including

  • studies of urbanization and environmental change;
  • internal migration in developing countries; and
  • immigrant adaptation in the United States.

As a member of Brown's sociology faculty, I teach courses on social policy, statistics, migration, and demographic methods. I am also a core faculty member of Brown's population studies center. Though much of my time is devoted to academe, I am currently serving on a National Academy of Sciences panel that is examining urban population growth in developing countries and until recently was on the board of directors for the Population Association of America. My projects have received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and several private foundations.


Expertise

Demography and Sociology, Population Distribution, Immigration, Urbanization and Migration in Developing Countries

Project Summary

My major task will be to understand the interrelationship of urbanization and other demographic dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa, a region only at the beginning of the demographic transition, where birth rates remain quite high and of concern. My study centers on three overriding concerns:



  • the relationship between Sub-Saharan Africa urbanization and economic development;

  • the relationship of Africa urbanization to the dynamics of fertility and mortality; and

  • the environmental implications of urbanization in these settings.




  • I will conduct original research on data I have collected and review the literature. I intend, through the Wilson Center fellowship, to communicate my findings across disciplines and professions, to both scholars and practitioners.

    Major Publications

    • "War, Famine, and Female Migration in Ethiopia, 1960-89," in Economic Development and Cultural Change (2000 forthcoming)

    • "Internal Migration in China 1950-1988," with Z. Liang, in Demography, August 1996, pp. 375-384.

    • American Neighborhoods and Residential Differentiation, 1980 Census Monograph Series (Russell Sage Foundation, 1987)



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