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Richard E. Bilsborrow, Ph.D., Research Professor, Biostatistics

I am an economist-demographer with a long career of experience in population and development research in developing countries. This has included studies on the measurement of demographic rates, the determinants of fertility, internal and international migration, poverty, and linkages among demographic processes, development, and the environment. I have enjoyed working extensively with UN organizations, USAID, environmental NGOs, and governments of developing countries. My two major contributions to the field of demography are (a) developing and applying improved methods for collecting data on migration via household surveys (on both sample and questionnaire design), and (b) stimulating the development of the new sub-field on population and the environment starting in the late 1980’s via work in Guatemala and Ecuador.  I am especially proud of the graduate students (both US and international) I have mentored in this evolving exciting field and their own growing contributions to the field.

Trained in Economics at Michigan (PhD) and in Demography through a postdoc at Princeton, Bilsborrow's career has been devoted to learning about the linkages between demographic processes and economic development in developing countries. This has occurred via not only teaching and research but also extensive consulting and collaboration with scholars at international organizations, including the UN Population and Statistics Divisions, the International Labour Office, Food and Agricultural Organization, World Bank, etc. Current research projects include (1) demographic and other factors influencing land-use, deforestation and implications for the environment and sustainable development, especially in the Ecuadorian Amazon, including among indigenous populations; (2) determinants and consequences of migration in developing nations and linkages with development and the environment; (3)  designing and analyzing household surveys on international migration in the Arab countries of the Mediterrean Basin; and (4) effects of payments for ecosystem services on livelihoods of households in rural China. Bilsborrow has taught courses on demographic techniques and on economic development, population dynamics, and the environment, in several departments at UNC and in Latin America (in Spanish).

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Last Updated: 2020-08-24