Jan. 5, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 9

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    Obituary: Philip Hauser, Sociology

    Philip M. Hauser (Ph.B.'29, A.M.'33, Ph.D.'38), the Lucy Flower Professor Emeritus in Sociology and a pioneer in the fields of urban studies and demography, died Dec. 13. He was 85.

    Hauser was the founder of the University's Population Research Center, a leading center for the study of demographic processes.

    "Philip Hauser was an internationally known sociologist and demographer who made distinguished contributions to research on population issues, to the study of urbanization in the United States, Latin America and Asia, and to the scientific development of census-taking in the U.S.," said Evelyn Kitagawa, Professor Emeritus in Sociology and a former student of Hauser's. Kitagawa and Hauser co-wrote the book Differential Mortality in the United States: A Study in Socioeconomic Epidemiology (1973).

    Hauser was the author or editor of numerous other books and studies, including the first report in 1964 on desegregation of the Chicago public schools.

    He was a past president of three national research associations: the American Sociological Association, the American Statistical Association and the Population Association of America.

    During the more than 30 years that Hauser was Director of the Population Research Center, he trained approximately 100 students who received doctorates in sociology with concentrations in demography, and he taught many others who received master's degrees in the same field. About half of these students were from other countries, and many are now stationed throughout the world, teaching in colleges and working in research organizations and for government and international agencies.

    Hauser was often called upon to explain and interpret population data for a wide variety of audiences, including government panels, academic conferences and business groups, as well as for television and radio programs.

    Hauser received his Ph.B. in 1929, his A.M. in 1933 and his Ph.D. in 1938, all from Chicago. He began his studies in sociology at a time when the field was gaining prominence through the leadership of a group of professors who founded what came to be known as the Chicago school of sociology.

    Members of the Chicago school took a keen interest in urban affairs and were leaders in developing new methods -- such as participant observation and the gathering of life histories -- for studying cities.

    Hauser continued that interest as a member of the Sociology faculty at Chicago, where he was named Instructor in 1932. He held that post until 1938.

    From 1938 to 1947, he worked for the U.S. Census Bureau, serving as deputy director during his last year there. From 1945 to 1947, he also served as assistant to the secretary of commerce.

    He rejoined the University faculty as Professor in Sociology in 1947, the same year that he founded and became Director of the Population Research Center. He remained Director of the center until 1979. During that time, he also served as acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau, from 1949 to 1950. He became the Lucy Flower Professor of Urban Sociology in 1974.

    Throughout his career, Hauser was called upon for advice by government agencies. He was a member of the Census Bureau's Technical Advisory Committee for Population Statistics from 1960 to 1972 and served for a time as its chairman. He served as the U.S. representative to the Population Commission for the United Nations from 1947 to 1951, and he was a statistical adviser to the governments of Burma and Thailand during the 1950s.

    Hauser was especially concerned with the consequences of racial segregation and overpopulation. In Chicago, he was a member of the board of governors of the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council from 1958 to 1970 and also served as a consultant for the city's Department of Development & Planning and the Department of Health. In 1963, he became chairman of the Advisory Panel for the Desegregation of the Chicago Public Schools. The Board of Education accepted but did not act on the report, which called for the clustering of high schools so that students could choose which to attend.

    During the 1960s, Hauser and Kitagawa studied mortality figures and found large differentials based on income and social status, with college-educated people living longer than less-educated people.

    Hauser continued to research population and segregation issues. In the early 1980s, he assembled a team of experts to study the remap of city wards. Using the 1980 U.S. Census of Chicago, Hauser testified in U.S. District Court that the map had diluted the voting strengths of minority groups, especially African Americans and Hispanics.

    He is survived by two children, Martha Hauser Baxter of Ann Arbor, Mich., and William B. Hauser of Rochester, N.Y.; four grandsons; a brother, Julius Hauser, of Rockville, Md.; and sisters Isobel Katz of San Diego, Calif., and Lillian Dreiser of Downers Grove, Ill.

    A memorial service at the University will be announced at a later date.