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Senior Research Associate


University, MS, US, 38677

Department:  Center for Population Studies (10000894)
Employee Designation:  Regular Full-time (Benefits Eligible)

Note for Current UM Employees

Current employees must apply internally via connectU >

Position Description


The Center for Population Studies (CPS, and State Data Center of Mississippi (SDC, at the University of Mississippi invite applications for a Senior Research Associate, beginning Summer or Fall 2022. We seek a scholar to support the demographic and outreach mission of the Centers. Specifically, we invite applications from individuals with expertise and an interest in working with staff, non-profit, local, state, and federal organizations on research projects related to Mississippi’s demographic characteristics, population change, population projections, data collection and cleaning.  

About UM Center for Population Studies and State Data Center of Mississippi.


The Center for Population Studies (CPS) educates, conducts research, and engages in public outreach concerning population issues and is the lead agency for the State Data Center (SDC) of Mississippi. CPS works closely with faculty, government and non-profit agencies, and community organizations across the State and has a 40-year history of helping Mississippians access, use, and interpret public data for the purposes of local development.  In this capacity, CPS distributes census and related data, provides instruction on data analysis, and serves as the liaison between the Census Bureau and the users of census and related data.

CPS also houses the Applied Policy and Community Research Laboratory, providing an avenue through which students are able to collaborate with faculty and nonprofit organizations to engage in timely and meaningful research. CPS also coordinates the Society and Health Minor in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts. This minor is for undergraduates interested in the social, cultural, and ethical dimensions to understanding and improving population health. 

The SDC exists through a collaborative agreement established in the late 1970’s between UM, the State of MS, and the US Census Bureau and provides outreach, technical assistance, and dissemination of public data, particularly concerning population characteristics and change. Much of this work is conducted in partnership with the SDC Affiliates network across the state, including planning and development districts. The SDC also plays a key role in the Decennial Census in MS, providing demographic expertise to state-level and federal stakeholders on census participation, dissemination of data, and education related to accessing, using, and reporting on the data. Center Staff have participated in the 2020 Census Count Review Operation (CRO) in Mississippi, routinely engage in outreach activities with rural communities around the state, and work in partnership with state agencies, including MS State Extension specialists. 

CPS, through the SDC, represents MS in the Federal-State Cooperative for Population Estimates (FSCPE), coordinating the fulfillment of data requests for official population estimates, participating in the statewide Complete Count Committee, and calculating and publishing population projections for the state and counties. The latter are used by state agencies, businesses, foundations, and researchers to plan for the future. Additionally, with the releases of 2020 Decennial Census data for redistricting, the SDC is responsible for providing technical input and legal testimony related to redistricting plans. 

CPS is committed to building an inclusive, equitable, and supportive environment for scholars and students form historically underrepresented groups.

Position Details


Appointment: 12-month

Essential Duties/Responsibilities: 

•    Update and publish regular population projects for the state of Mississippi
•    Act as a liaison between the State Data Center (SDC) and the United States Census Bureau
•    Represent CPS and SDC in the FSCPE meetings, and participate in any SDC Affiliates workshops or activities
•    Work closely with State officials around Census data collection, outreach, and reporting, including but not limited to participating in the Census CRO.
•    Engage in independent research and publish academic research
•    Produce public facing publications on relevant population trends to MS, and more broadly—connect these trends to current policy developments.
•    Supervise a research team including research associates, graduate and undergraduate students
•    Build and maintain strong, trusting relationships with CPS clients and community organizations/members

Minimum Qualifications




Ph.D. in Demography, Applied Demography, Rural Sociology, or a closely related discipline. 


Experience, Knowledge, Skills & Abilities: 

•    Experience in demographic analysis and techniques, including mapping
•    Experience in writing peer-reviewed publications 
•    Proficiency in data collection and data analysis (your choice of statistical packages, Excel, and ArcGIS)
•    Excellent oral, written, and presentation skills (both technical and non-technical)
•    Ability to communicate with lay and professional audiences


Application Procedures

For full consideration, candidates will submit the following documents: (1) a cover letter outlining your research qualifications and related experience for the advertised position, (2) a C.V., (3) a research statement, (4) a diversity statement, with specific reference to your approach to working with communities. Review of applications will begin May 15 and will continue until the position is filled.  Candidates who are selected for further review will be asked to provide a writing sample and letters of reference (to be submitted by the candidate’s referees through the online application website). If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Anne Cafer, chair of the search committee and Director of CPS at or (662) 915-7295.

Background Check Statement

The University of Mississippi is committed to providing a safe campus community. UM conducts background investigations for applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include a criminal history record check, and when appropriate, a financial (credit) report or driving history check.

EEO Statement

The University of Mississippi provides equal opportunity in any employment practice, education program, or education activity to all qualified persons. The University complies with all applicable laws regarding equal opportunity and affirmative action and does not unlawfully discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment based upon race, color, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, citizenship, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information.

Nearest Major Market: Oxford Mississippi