Emeritus professor Ansley Coale dies

Nov. 6, 2002, 12:35 a.m.

Ansley Johnson Coale, the William Church Osborne Professor of Public Affairs and Professor of Economics, emeritus, died Tuesday, Nov. 5. He was 85.

Coale was educated at Princeton University (B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.) and spent his entire academic career at its Office of Population Research, serving as director from 1959 to 1975. He was president of the Population Association of America in 1967-68 and president of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population from 1977 to 1981.

He published more than 125 books and articles on a wide variety of demographic topics. He also trained and served as mentor to many students who later became leaders in the field.

His first major influential work was "Population Growth and Economic Development in Low-Income Countries" (1958), co-written with Edgar Hoover. The results, which showed that slowing population growth could enhance economic development, had a major impact on public policy and set the research agenda in this field.

Perhaps Coale's major scientific contribution was to the understanding of the demographic transition, according to James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research . He was the intellectual architect of the European Fertility Project, which examined the remarkable decline in marital fertility in Europe. Initiated in 1963, the project eventually resulted in the publication of nine major books summarizing the change in childbearing over a century in the 700 provinces in Europe.

OPR honored Coale in June by naming its demographic research library "The Ansley J. Coale Population Research Collection."

The full story is available on the OPR Web site .

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601