Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Suzanne Withers

Associate Professor, Geography
University of Washington
Tel: 206-616-9064 Box: 353350

In the News:

Suzanne Withers is a spatial demographer/population geographer whose research applies spatial demographic analysis and geographic information science to investigate spatial mobility over the life course. Specifically, over the past few years she has investigated the intersection of family dynamics, housing, labor market transitions and geographic mobility at various scales ranging from local to national. Much of this research uses the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to link household dynamics with spatial mobility longitudinally. This body of research has established considerable demographic variation in housing cost adjustments associated with family migration thereby contributing to our understanding of the geographic variation in the migration behavior of dual-earner households. There is clear evidence that spatial differentials in the cost of living, particularly when measured by the ratio of housing costs to income, contribute significantly to our understanding of specific origin-destination migration flows across the United States. This research also assessed the synchronicity of fertility events, labor force participation, and the scales of mobility ranging from residential mobility to long-distance migration. Another part of this research interrogated the goodness of fit between moving intentions and mobility events, longitudinally. Her other area of research falls within the general field of housing demography. She studies the intergenerational aspects of housing wealth, home ownership, and location. Understanding the dynamic relative location of parents and their adult children and grandchildren contributes to our understanding of the geography of care and the geodemographics of aging. Her work has established significant differences in the scale of spatial relations among the generations between the European and the American context. While considerable research has addressed these questions in Europe, little attention has been given to these issues in the United States. Her work has been published in Demographic Research, Population, Space and Place, Urban Geography, Geographical Analysis, Environment and Planning A, and the UNESCO-EOLSS volume Demography (English and Chinese). Withers has keen interest in methods of spatial demography. In 2010 she was a visiting scholar at The School of Sociology and Population Studies, Renmin University of China where she trained their students in spatial demography using geographic information science.