Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bumpass, Larry L.
Location University of Wisconsin-Madison
Primary Field Social and Political Sciences
 Election Citation
Bumpass, a sociologist, led major surveys on American, European and Asian families that revealed how cohabitation, marriage, contraception, fertility, and divorce affect children's lifestyles and development. His demographic studies of children's exposure to single-and step-parent households shaped contemporary research on family disruption and child well-being.
 Research Interests
My research is on the social demography of the family. This work examines how cohabitation, unmarried childbearing, and divorce have altered the face of family life. Half of all marriages are preceded by cohabitation, half end in divorce, and two-fifths of unmarried births occur in two-parent families. In the process the family lives of children have become increasingly unstable despite the two-decade plateau in the divorce rate. These trends require a rethinking of the meaning of "family" and of the unique effects marriage has on family life. I am also examining family change in Europe and in East Asia in order to better understand the dynamics of these trends. I am co-director of the National Survey of Families and Households, an ongoing longitudinal study that we designed to be interdisciplinary and holistic in its coverage. These data are a resource for the profession that has had a major impact on the way family sociology is conducted, and the data are being used by hundreds of researchers across the nation and around the world.

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