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Various Methods

With a wide range of colleagues in epidemiology, statistics, and demography, I have worked on improving measurement, estimation, forecasting, and other aspects of methods used by populations scientists.

Component-based mortality models: SVD-Comp

Beginning with my PhD, I have been interested in using dimension reduction methods to develop parsimonious, empirical models for age-specific schedules of demographic quantities, e.g. mortality or fertility rates/probabilities. This work has gone through several iterations culminating current work with colleagues at the United Nations Population Division to develop a widely-useful, single-year in age model of age-specific mortality.

The 2022 iteration of the UN Population Division's bi-annual World Population Prospects (WPP) global population estimates and projections used a version of the component model of mortality. I led a small team including Jon Muir and Brian Houle to develop an SVD-Comp mortality model for HIV-affected countries that produced 1-year age group mortality rates based on HIV prevalence and coverage of antiretroviral therapy.

Various probabilisitic methods for population estimation and forecasting

While at the University of Washington, I collaborated on a number of projects with Adrian Raftery and a variety of graduate students in sociology and statistics. Most of these were aimed at improving the United Nations Population Division's ability to conduct estimates of forecasts of the population of all countries of the world as part of their biannual World Population Prospects publication.

Miscellaneous Methods

As even a cursory reading of this website reveals, thinking about methods and tools is fun for me. At various times, I've gotten interested in and spent too much time on eclectic things; some examples below.


There is a single paper that describes an idea I had a long time ago while working with the health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) sites in South Africa. Colleagues Jon Wakefield and Tyler McCormick, along with graduate student Michelle Ross, helped convert my vague idea into a realistic approach to combining HDSS and survey research approaches to create a hyper efficient population measurement tool - called 'Hyak'. I still really like this general idea, and I think there's huge potential to increase temporal/spatial coverage and accuracy without dramatically increasing resources required. I want to get back to this ASAP.