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Published: 2023-04-19

New professor in population studies at Umeå University

PROFILE Anna Baranowska-Rataj is a new Professor in Population Studies specialising in register-based research. Her research is international and interdisciplinary and contributes to the some of the main fields of population studies; labour market, family and health.

Text: Karin Johansson
Image: Przemysław Chrostowski

Since march 1 2023 is Anna Baranowska-Rataj a new Professor in Population Studies at Centre for Demographic and Aging Research (CEDAR). I her research she investigates processes linking labour market inequalities, family life and wellbeing.

Like many other demographers in Europe, Anna Baranowska-Rataj has an international and interdisciplinary background.

– I did my phd at the Institute of Statistics and Demography at Warsaw School of Economics in Poland. During that time, I went for research stays to Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock. These two research stays were important experiences for my training and had a large impact on my way of thinking about doing research.

After completing her PhD, Anna joined the Department of Sociology at Umeå University, first as a postdoc and later on as a senior lecturer.

– Just before joining CEDAR as a professor, I also had the pleasure to be a guest professor at the LIVES Centre at the University of Lausanne. My plan for the future is to use these international experiences and connections to help researchers at CEDAR become even more visible both within Sweden and internationally. 

I am especially interested in interrelatedness of occupational careers, family life and health 

Research on labor market and family dynamics using data from large surveys

Anna's research contributes to some of the major areas in population studies such as labor market, family and health. She uses quantitative data from large surveys like Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and Swedish registers, including the register databases available at CEDAR.

– I am especially interested in interrelatedness of occupational careers, family life and health. For example, my ongoing project financed by the European Research Council, titled “The effects of unemployment on health of family members” (HEALFAM) investigates how losing a job affects health outcomes of partners, children and elderly parents of the unemployed. I also examine what institutional and cultural conditions make families of the unemployed resilient to economic shocks such as job losses.

Intense spring

Anna has just returned home from a conference in New Orleans where she and her team members presented their work.  At the same time, she and her colleagues from the European Association for Population Studies are planning a workshop on 'Families' resilience and well-being of children and youth' to take place at the end of May in Paris.

– I am already excited about the discussions that we are going to have at that meeting!

During this spring, Anna has also been involved in the new course "Longitudinal studies of population data" coordinated by CEDAR.
– I think this has been the best teaching experience I have ever had, not least because of high engagement of super smart students who were our course participants. They are really interested in the topics covered in the course, asked great questions and I have learnt a lot from interacting with them.

This possibility to keep on learning about new theories, new ideas and new methods is something that makes me excited about my work

Constantly learning new things motivates

For Anna, it has always been important to have a job where she can constantly learn new things, and in population studies she finds great opportunities for this.

– In population studies we do not restrict our attention to new developments in one specific discipline, instead, demographers integrate knowledge from various disciplines such as economics, sociology, human geography and statistics. Therefore, the influx of new things to learn has a completely different pace for researchers interested in population studies. This possibility to keep on learning about new theories, new ideas and new methods is something that makes me excited about my work.

Hoping to inspire

Being a professor will not mean any major differences for Anna in terms of the content of her work. But she sees new opportunities to support her younger colleagues.

– I am looking forward to opening new positions for doctoral students and postdocs who would like to engage in research at CEDAR, and I hope they will enjoy this open, inspiring and friendly research environment as much as I do.

Anna Baranowska-Rataj
Professor, other position