The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) is a University-wide interdisciplinary cooperative for demographic research at the University of Minnesota. The center has three main goals: to foster connections among population researchers across disciplines, to develop large-scale collaborative research projects, and to provide infrastructure for demographic research. MPC serves 98 faculty members and research scientists from 10 colleges and 21 departments at the University of Minnesota. As a leading developer and disseminator of demographic data, MPC also serves a broader audience of over 60,000 demographic researchers worldwide. During the past five years, the University has recruited 21 new faculty members in 11 departments who are engaged in population-related research, giving MPC an energetic and productive new generation of scholars. This has stimulated an exciting array of interdisciplinary population research initiatives, leading to a proliferation of research activity around diverse but interrelated themes. MPC clusters of research excellence fall into eight thematic areas: large-scale demographic data infrastructure;work, family, and time;historical demography;education, labor, and the life course;healthcare access and health disparities;census and survey methodology;unions and sexuality;and population and environment. MPC's signature activity is the development and support of large-scale population data infrastructure. MPC processes and disseminates more publicly-accessible demographic microdata than any other organization;during the past decade, the Center released thirteen times as much population microdata as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Center disseminate the nation's most comprehensive collection of aggregate U.S. Census data and electronic census boundary files. MPC data infrastructure is shifting the landscape of population research by opening new opportunities for dynamic, comparative, and multilevel analyses. Measured by number and size of research grants, number and quality of publications and impact on population research infrastructure, MPC has become one of the largest and most influential population research centers in the nation. These successes could not have occurred without R24 funding. MPC now seeks continued funding to build on this momentum.
This work is directly relevant to the central mission of the NIH as the steward of medical and behavioral research for the nation. MPC research is advancing fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of human health and population dynamics. This basic infrastructure is essential for answering the core questions surrounding family change, population health, and migration that have been identified as the central research agenda for NICHD's Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch.
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