Shelley Clark

Photo of Shelley Clark

Director, Centre on Population Dynamics

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Youth, Gender and Global Health

Department of Sociology
McGill University
Peterson Hall Building, Room 348
3460 McTavish Street
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 0E6

Tel.: 514-398-8822
Fax: 514-398-3403
E-Mail: shelley.clark [at] mcgill.ca (Shelley Clark)


Prof. Clark is a Full Professor in the Department of Sociology and Director of the CFI-funded Life History, Health, and HIV/AIDS data laboratory, which aims to make data from longitudinal demographic and health surveys in developing countries more accessible. Her work is closely aligned with CPD’s research axes pertaining to the social determinants of health and family dynamics. Specifically, her research examines how adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa make key transitions to adulthood in the midst of an on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic. Much of her work has focused on the risks of HIV/AIDS associated with marriage in sub-Saharan Africa. She finds that for adolescent girls in many African countries, marriage does not provide a safe haven, showing instead that married adolescent girls are acutely vulnerable with respect to HIV.  Additional research demonstrates how the process of searching for and finding a suitable spouse places both adolescent boys and girls at considerable risk.  Through her current collaborative project with colleagues in Kenya, Burkina Faso, and South Africa, she is exploring the implications of single motherhood on women’s poverty and children’s health over the life course.  Her findings have been published in leading journals, such as Demography, Population and Development Review, Social Forces, and Journal of Marriage and Family, and presented to policy makers at influential international organizations, including the World Bank, WHO, UNFPA/UNICEF, and the Population Council.

Recent Publications:

Clark, S., Madhavan, S, Cotton, C, Beguy, D & C. Kabiru. Who helps single mothers in Nairobi?: The role of kin support. Journal of Marriage and Family 79, 1186-1204.

Clark, S., Koski, A, & Smith-Greenaway, E. (2017). Recent Trends in Premarital Childbirth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Studies in Family Planning, 48, 3-22.

Koski, A., Clark, S., & Nandi, A. (2017). Has Child Marriage Declined in sub‐Saharan Africa? An Analysis of Trends in 31 Countries. Population and Development Review, 43, 7-29.

Le Bourdais, C., Jeon, S. H., Clark, S., & Lapierre-Adamcyk, É. (2016). Impact of conjugal separation on women’s income in Canada: Does the type of union matter?. Demographic Research, 35, 1489-1522.

Madhavan, S., Clark, S., Beguy, D., Kabiru, C., & Gross, M. (2017). Moving beyond the household: innovations in data collection on kinship Population Studies. 71, 117-132. (DOI: 10.1080/00324728.2016.1262965)