Arland D. Thornton

Research Professor, SRC-Family Demography
Research Professor, PSC
Professor, Sociology
Arland D. Thornton


Arland Thornton is Professor of Sociology, Population Studies, Survey Research, and Native American Studies at the University of Michigan, where he is also associated with the Centers for Chinese Studies, Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, and South Asian Studies. He is a social demographer who has served as president of the Population Association of America and previously held a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health. He has received four awards for his books as well as distinguished career awards from the American Sociological Association and the Population Association of America. For much of his career, Thornton has focused on the study of family and demographic issues, with emphasis on marriage, cohabitation, divorce, childbearing, intergenerational relations, and gender roles. More recently, Thornton has pioneered the study of developmental idealism, including its conceptualization, measurement, and influence in many places. He has collaborated in the collection and analysis of data from several countries, including Albania, Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Malawi, Nepal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Turkey, the U.S., and Vietnam. Thornton is currently conducting research on migration in Nepal and is initiating a study of social change among Native Americans.