Assistant Professor Brian Stults Awarded Research Grant from The Russell Sage Foundation

June 16, 2010

Filed Under: Awards, Faculty, Research

The Russell Sage Foundation has awarded a research grant to Dr. Brian Stults and Dr. John Logan (Brown University) for their project entitled US 2010: America after the First Decade of the New Century. This project continues the Russell Sage Foundation’s long tradition of funding the analysis of key trends in American society every decade using statistical information from the decennial census. Stults and Logan improve on that tradition by building on the strengths of two very different projects. They combine the Foundation’s history of scholarship on the key social, economic, and demographic trends in U.S. society with the many advantages of the web-based American Communities Project developed by Logan and Stults for the 2000 Census. Utilizing a web-based dissemination strategy will yield more rapid turnaround in releasing research and expanding its reach to more diverse audiences including scholars, policymakers, educators, the public, and the media.

The first decade of the twenty-first century has raised a set of urgent questions. The recession that began in 2007 demands that we understand what has happened to Americans’ employment, retirement, assets, and spending patterns. The foreclosure crisis requires us to understand how the American commitment to single-family homes may have altered. The election of a mixed-race President brings more attention to racial and ethnic diversity, leading us to ask about trends in intermarriage, neighborhood segregation, and employment discrimination. Continuing changes in the size and composition of the immigrant population have given new urgency to immigration reform. The decline in the traditional family has given impetus to changes in fertility, child care arrangements, the gender composition of the labor force, and family migration patterns.

The US 2010 project addresses these issues through the recruitment of a diverse set of leading scholars from academic disciplines including economics, sociology, psychology, political science, and history. Each scholar has been commissioned to conduct a study on a key social, economic, or demographic trend that has emerged over the past decade or longer. Research findings will be published in two forms: short, descriptive briefs, and longer, more analytic research reports. Briefs will be especially important for their ability to address timely and important topics of interest and their appeal to a broader audience. Reports are more typical of prior Foundation census projects and will be more scholarly in approach and substance.

Another major goal of the US 2010 project is to provide technical guidance to the broader research community on issues related to the analysis of census data. Because there have been major changes in the structure of census data collection in 2010, it will be necessary to make many decisions about the use of new data – such as how to use information pooled from multiple years of the American Community Survey and how to deal with confidence intervals around point estimates. These profound changes in data collection and census geography create specific challenges for the research community. As one of the first major collective efforts to report trends in U.S. society after Census 2000, the US 2010 project will play a leading role in setting standards and templates for other researchers.