NIA Establishes New Demography Centers To Enhance Knowledge about Older Americans
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes
of Health (NIH) has established four new Centers on the Demography
of Aging at Harvard University, Princeton University, the University
of North Carolina, and Pennsylvania State University. The new programs,
which join nine ongoing Centers at institutions around the U.S.,
will focus on social and behavioral research on health, savings,
retirement, and global aging. Today’s announcement reflects
an expanded effort by the NIA to promote economic and demographic
population research as the U.S. and world age rapidly.
“The Centers were developed as a research infrastructure to address
the big questions in population aging in the U.S. and worldwide,” says
Richard Suzman, Ph.D., Associate Director of the NIA for Behavioral
and Social Research. “Population science applied to aging
is increasingly interdisciplinary, and the Centers have become
the crucibles for combining disciplines into cutting edge research
fields such as biodemography, neuroeconomics and behavior genetics.”
The NIA was joined in funding four of the Centers by the NIH’s
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). The
NIH and its components are part of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services.
The Centers’ research embraces topics on the age structure of populations;
changes in the levels of disease and disability; the economic costs of disability;
cost effectiveness of interventions; migration and geographic concentration of
older people; decision-making about retirement; pensions and savings; the relationship
between health and economic status; and health disparities by gender and race.
The new and existing Centers will receive approximately $6 million in grant awards
in their first year for a broad range of research and over $30 million for the
four to five years for which they will be funded.
Each of the 13 Centers has unique but inter-related themes. The four new centers, their principal investigators, and focus top the complete list of Centers, below:
- Harvard School of Public Health, David E. Bloom, Ph.D. Research
will be conducted on demographic changes and aging throughout
the world, with a particular focus on developing countries. The
of this research will be on the measurement of the burden of
disability and disease and on the causes and consequences of
The center will have a particular emphasis on the effects of
HIV/AIDS and will play an important role within the Harvard University
for Global Health.
- Princeton University, Christina H.
Paxson, Ph.D. The Princeton Center will examine the relationship
between socioeconomic status
(SES) and health over the life-cycle, the measurement and determinants
of decision-making and well-being among individuals as they age,
the physiological pathways through which socioeconomic status
affects health; and the determinants of differences in health
expectancy across countries and within countries over time.
of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill, David M. Blau, Ph.D.
UNC researchers will investigate the effects of population
aging on a variety of topics including labor force participation
and retirement security, and how nutrition-related improvements
in developing countries could influence the development of chronic
- Pennsylvania State University, Mark D. Hayward, Ph.D.
Penn State scientists will examine the interrelationships
among, for example,
SES, race/ethnicity, and health, trends in chronic disease and
disability, biodemographic approaches to aging and health.
of Michigan at Ann Arbor, John Bound, Ph.D. At Michigan, center-based
research will study aspects of health, work, and
retirement including the NIA-funded Health and Retirement Study, trends in
chronic disease and disability, the impact of HIV/AIDs on the
elderly and their families in low income countries, and the demography
and economics of specific diseases.
- University of Southern California
(USC) University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Eileen
Crimmins, Ph.D. Research at the
USC-UCLA Center will incorporate a variety of disciplines, including epidemiology,
clinical geriatrics, biostatistics, psychology, and biology,
develop models of the health status of populations and the expected
life cycles of individuals (co-funded by OBSSR).
- Stanford University,
Alan M. Garber, Ph.D., M.D. Stanford’s
focus on individuals and the health care system will examine
the effects of medical technology on health and well-being ofolder
people; look at medical care, costs, and health and economic
outcomes in the U.S. and in other countries, with particular
emphasis on disparities in outcomes; and conduct comparative
international studies analyzing the efficiencies of different
health care systems.
- University of Wisconsin, Madison,
Robert M. Hauser, Ph.D. Wisconsin will explore the links between
social demography and biomedical
and epidemiological research on health and aging, focusing on midlife
development and aging, the economics of population aging; inequalities
in health and aging; comparative international studies of population
aging; and links between social-demographic and biomedical research
in population aging.
- RAND Corporation, Michael D. Hurd, Ph.D.
RAND will examine the relationships between the economic status
and well-being of people
approaching or at old age. The center will collaborate with researchers
internationally, with a particular focus on Europe and large social
surveys of older people being conducted by the Europeans. (co-funded
- University of California Berkeley, Ronald D. Lee, Ph.D.
The UC Berkeley Center will continue its focus on the biodemography
of aging, as well as forecasting and analyzing demographic and
fiscal characteristics of the aging population, developing behavioral
and experimental economics, studying life cycle planning and intergenerational
transfers, and monitoring and examining labor supply issues in
an aging population. (co-funded by OBSSR).
- University of Pennsylvania,
Beth J. Soldo, Ph.D. UPenn will look at biodemography and
early life factors that affect health
in both mid- and late life; examine the well-being of older individuals
and old-age security programs both domestically and internationally;
look at the flow of resources, such as time, money, and help, among
generations in a family; and develop new and innovative methods
for the collection and analysis of demographic data.
of Chicago National Opinion Research Center, Linda J. Waite,
Ph.D. Part of the Chicago Center’s focus will be
on social aspects of aging, examining social relationships, living
arrangements, and family and bio-behavioral pathways important
to aging. The center will also look at health care, studying ways
that data from biomarkers can be effectively collected and integrated
into population-based aging research. (co-funded by OBSSR).
Bureau of Economic Research, David M. Wise, Ph.D. The
NBER’s focus on economics and health will examine their interrelationship
in a variety of ways financial circumstances of aging individuals;
the relationship between retirement policies and labor market
behavior; the inter-relationship between SES, health, and health
disparities; and population aging around the world, in terms of
the timing and magnitude of demographic change, institutional histories,
economic and social context, behavioral traditions, and policy
The NIA is one of 27 Institutes and Centers at the
NIH. It leads the Federal Government effort conducting and supporting
on the biomedical and social and behavioral aspects of aging and
the problems of older people. For more information on aging-related
research and the NIA, please visit the NIA website at www.nia.nih.gov.
The public may also call for publications describing these efforts
and offering health information for older people and their families
at 1-800-222-2225, the toll free number for the National Institute
on Aging Information Center.