Jennifer Johnson-Hanks is a cultural demographer, whose research focuses on the relationship between population rates and cultural patterns, and on the mediation of that relationship by individual intentional action. She asks, for example, how are individual actions coordinated into stable rates, such as birth rates or marriage rates? What roles do individual intentions play in accounting for action, and in the formation of rates? And conversely, how are intentions and demographically relevant actions socially and culturally structured?
Her first book, Uncertain Honor, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2006. Co-authoring with Phil Morgan, Chris Bachrach, and Hans-Peter Kohler, Johnson-Hanks published Understanding Family Change and Variation in 2011. She is currently working on a third book, tentatively titled Fertile Numbers.
Johnson-Hanks earned her BA from Berkeley, and her MA and PhD from Northwestern, all in Anthropology. She is joint appointed in the Departments of Sociology and Demography, and currently serves as Associate Dean of Social Sciences.