Population science is defined broadly as the study of human populations. Major research foci include fertility, mortality, migration, family formation, enumeration, population aging, demographic methodology, health and morbidity, labor markets, and human capital formation. One core area of population scholarship at UCI involves the study of socioeconomic inequality. Gaps in the economic and educational opportunities of children and adults in the top and bottom quintiles of the family income distribution have widened dramatically in past decades in both the US and many other countries. And inequality across countries continues to drive global issues such as migration. Moreover, poverty is often persistent both within and across countries.
Many faculty at UCI investigate the causes and consequences of this inequality as well as policies and other strategies designed to improve well-being of the less advantaged – including employment, education, income, and housing. UCI researchers across the social sciences, public health, education, social ecology, and natural sciences have a track record of high quality population research on inequality – research that spans disciplinary boundaries and important areas of public policy.
At the Center for Population, Inequality, and Policy (CPIP), we are building on an existing base of strong, funded interdisciplinary work to create a world-class, nationally- and internationally-recognized center. Faculty members affiliated with CPIP focus on six research areas and the Center's efforts promote research, policy, and collaboration.
- Support and promotion of successful applications for external grants on inequality and related topics in population science.
- Provision of a “big data” infrastructure to strengthen UCI’s capacity to conduct research.
- Creation of an institutional environment that attracts and integrates new faculty and graduate students into this across-campus endeavor.
- Fostering of regular, ongoing intellectual exploration and collaboration among UCI scholars in many disciplines who share interests in reducing inequality via improving socioeconomic outcomes for the less advantaged.
- Active translation of this research to policymakers.
The Center for Population, Inequality, and Policy was founded in 2020 to centralize the efforts of several population-related centers at UCI that were internally funded and operating independently. CPIP is now the sole recipient of university-level resources to support a center for the study of population sciences at UCI.
Four centers contributed to the creation of CPIP. The Center for Research on Immigration (CRIM) brought a strong research program on immigration that has broadened within CPIP to a more general focus on inequality. Professor Frank Bean of the Department of Sociology had led CRIM since its founding in 2001. The Center for Demographic and Social Analysis (C-DASA), previously run by Professor Judith Treas of the Department of Sociology, merged its research activities into CPIP. The Center for Administrative Data Analysis (CADA), led by Professor Andrew Penner in the Department of Sociology, makes its data infrastructure available to faculty affiliates of CPIP. And the Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute (ESSPRI), founded by Professor David Neumark in the Department of Economics, brought into CPIP its focus on long-run policy to improve economic self-sufficiency, as well as its policy translation function. ESSPRI’s director, David Neumark, is a founding director of CPIP.
CPIP’s founding sought to form a sum greater than its parts, both by integrating the efforts of the prior centers, and by expanding participation to faculty across a large number of schools and departments. CPIP has successfully created a robust hub for population studies at UCI that supports bringing together diverse faculty across multiple disciplines in support of research and seeking external funding.