Robert Hummer


PhD, Howard W. Odum Professor, Sociology

CPC Office: 123 W Franklin St, Room 2201
CPC Phone Number: (919) 962-6134

Dr. Hummer's Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Hummer's Google Scholar profile

Dr. Hummer's publications in PubMed

Dr. Hummer's CPC publications

Robert (Bob) Hummer’s research focuses on the accurate documentation and more complete understanding of health and mortality disparities by race/ethnicity/nativity and socioeconomic status in the United States. He has published more than 110 journal articles, book chapters, and books in these and related areas, with attention to disparities both during infancy/childhood as well as across the adult life course. He has developed conceptual models for the understanding of educational attainment and racial/ethnic differences in health/mortality, and specializes in the creative and effective use of very large data sets to study U.S. health/mortality patterns and trends. His most recently completed NIH-funded project focused on the changing relationship between educational attainment and adult health and mortality in the United States. Specifically, he uncovered the extensive widening of educational differences in US adult mortality across birth cohorts and documented the precise functional form of the contemporary relationship between educational attainment and US adult mortality. This project also resulted in an overview of research in this area, a discussion of policy options to deal with increasing educational disparities in health and mortality, and the lead article in a special issue on this topic that discusses the contextual specificity of education’s causal influence. In another recent project led by Hummer, funded by the MacArthur Foundation Network on an Aging Society, he and his colleagues provided new estimates of older adult Hispanic mortality and clarified the role of smoking for Hispanic versus white differences, documented the very high disability burden of US Hispanics despite their overall low mortality rates, and provided an overview and policy relevant discussion of the future health and mortality prospects of the rapidly growing and aging Hispanic population.

Hummer’s current work include projects that accurately document and provide a more complete understanding of educational and race/ethnic disparities in U.S. health and mortality. He is currently a co-investigator on an NICHD-funded project that is adding data from education transcripts to individuals in the NLSY97 data set, with the main goal of better understanding how specific educational experiences are associated with the health, health behavior, family formation, and labor market outcomes of young adults. He is Co-PI of an NIA-funded grant (with Eileen Crimmins, James House, and Mark Hayward) titled “Network on Life Course Health Dynamics & Disparities” that is developing a research network to understand how and why the United States is falling behind most other developed/wealthy nations, and even some developing nations, on major indicators of population health. He also is beginning a new NICHD-funded project (with Richard Rogers) that aims to better understand socioeconomic, family structure, and race/ethnic disparities in early life (ages 0-24) mortality in the United States, with substantial attention given to geographic differences and temporal changes in those disparities. Finally, he is particularly excited about collaborating with Kathleen Mullan Harris and other CPC colleagues on projects using Add Health data that will allow Hummer to more fully capture the multi-level factors that contribute to racial/ethnic and educational health disparities in US young adults. He has already joined Harris and the Add Health team in the implementation of the Add Health Wave V design and protocol.

Primary Research Areas:

  • Demography

  • Population Health

Current Research Projects:

Information updated on 1/11/2018

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