Susan E. Short Professor of Sociology, Director of Population Studies

Susan E. Short is Professor of Sociology. She holds a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She specializes in demography with an emphasis on family, health, gender, inequality, and research methods. She has conducted research in the U.S., China, and southern Africa. 

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work

Selected Publications

  • Hongwei Xu, John Logan, and Susan E. Short. 2014. “Integrating Space with Place in Health Research: A Multilevel Spatial Investigation Using Child Mortality in 1880 Newark, New Jersey.” Demography. DOI 10.1007/s13524-014-0292-y
  • Susan E. Short, Y. Claire Yang, and Tania M. Jenkins.  2013.  “Sex, Gender, Genetics, and Health.”  American Journal of Public Health. 103(S1):S93-S101.
  • Abigail Harrison, Susan E. Short, Maletela Tuoane-Nkhasi.   2013. “Re-focusing the Gender Lens: Caregiving Women, Family Roles and HIV/AIDS Vulnerability in Lesotho.”  AIDS and Behavior. doi:10.1007/s10461-013-0515-z. PMID: 23686152.
  • Hongwei Xu, Susan E. Short, and Tao Liu.  2013. “Dynamic Relations between Fast-food Restaurant and Body Weight Status: A Longitudinal and Multilevel Analysis of Chinese Adults.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 67(3):271-279.
  • Hartz SM, Short SE, Saccone NL, Culverhouse R, Chen L, Schwantes-An TH, Coon, H, Han Y, Stephens SH, Sun J, Chen X, Ducci F, Dueker N, Franceschini N, Frank J,Geller F et al. 2012. “Increased Genetic Vulnerability to Smoking at CHRNA5 in Early-Onset Smokers.”  Archives of General Psychiatry 69(8):854-60.
  • Rachel E. Goldberg and Susan E. Short.  2012. “The Luggage That Isn’t Theirs is Heavy: Explanations for Orphan Disadvantage in Lesotho.” Population Research and Policy Review 31(1):67-83.
  • Nancy L. Saccone, Robert C. Culverhouse, Tae-Hwi Schwantes-An, Dale S. Cannon, Xiangning Chen, Sven Cichon, Ina Giegling, Shizhong Han, Younghun Han,Kaisu Keskitalo-Vuokko, Xiangyang Kong, Maria Teresa Landi, Jennie Z. Ma, Susan E. Short, et al. 2010. "Multiple Independent Loci at Chromosome 15q25.1 Affect Smoking Quantity: a Meta-Analysis and Comparison with Lung Cancer and COPD." PLoS Genetics. 6(8): e1001053.doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001053.
  • Drew, Julia A. Rivera and Susan E.Short. 2010. "Disability and Pap Smear Receipt Among U.S. Women, 2000 and 2005." Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 42(4):258-266. doi: 10.1363/4225810.
  • Erin Parker and Susan E. Short. 2009. "Grandmother Co-residence and Child Schooling in Lesotho." Journal of Family Issues. 30(6):813-836.
  • Susan E. Short, Frances K. Goldscheider, and Berna M. Torr. 2006. "Less Help for Mother: The Decline in Female Support for the Mothers of Young Children, 1880-1990" Demography. 43(4): 617-629.
  • Susan E. Short and Fengyu Zhang. 2004. "Use of Maternal Health Services in Rural China." Population Studies. 58(1):3-19.
  • Berna Miller Torr and Susan E. Short. 2004. "Second Births and the Second Shift: A Research Note on Gender Equity and Fertility. Population and Development Review. 30(1):109-130.

research overview

Areas of Interest

Social Contexts, Health, and Well-being;  Family Demography;  Gender; Fertility and Reproductive Health; Integration of Social and Biological Processes; Inequality; and Methods.

research statement


funded research



Research Funding 


Co-Investigator.  “Empower, Nudge: Increasing Dual Protection among Young Women in South Africa.” (Galárraga, PI)  Office of Vice President for Research Award, Brown University. 2014-2015

Investigator.  “Partnerships for the Next Generation of HIV Social Science in South Africa.” (Mark Lurie/Chris Colvin  Co-PIs). NIH  2013-2018.

Co-Investigator. "National Children's Study" Wave 2 (Stephen Buka, PI). NIH. 2008-2013.

Principal Investigator. "Family Organization and Child Well-being in Southern Africa." NICHD. 2007-2010.

Principal Investigator. "Social Inequalities: The Intertwining of Human Difference and Environments." Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. New Directions Fellowship. 2007- 2011.

Co-Investigator. "National Children's Study" Wave 1 (Stephen Buka, PI). NIH. 2007-2012.

Co-Investigator. "Exceptional Children, Exceptional Challenges." Office of Vice President for Research Award, Brown University. 2006-2008. (Dennis Hogan, PI).

Principal Investigator. "Children's Evolving Social Networks in the Context of High HIV/AIDS Prevalence." Salomon Faculty Research Award, Brown University. 2005-2007.

Principal Investigator. "Family Disruption, Family Response: Social Change, Family Organization, and Child Well-being in Southern Africa." NSF. 2003-2005.

Principal Investigator. "Urbanization and Migration." The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Center Award to PSTC in support of Research and Training. 2003-2005.

Consultant. "Monitoring Social Change: Health, Reproduction, and Aging." NIH. 2003-2008.
(Barry Popkin, Principal Investigator, UNC-Chapel Hill).

Principal Investigator. "Family Organization and Child-Well-being: Mixing Methods in the Field." Mellon Award through PSTC, Brown University. 2003-2004.

Principal Investigator. "Population Policy and Child Well-Being." NICHD. 1999-2003.

Principal Investigator. "Men's Labor Migration, Household Organization, and Resource Allocation Decisions" Salomon Faculty Research Award, Brown University. 1999- 2003.