Sarah Brauner-Otto

Associate ProfessorDr. Brauner-Otto

Director of the Centre on Population Dynamics

Stephen Leacock Building, Room 728
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2T7

Tel.: 514-398-5682
Fax: 514-398-7476
E-mail: sarah.brauner-otto [at]

Office: 728 Leacock


Research Areas

Demography, Family Sociology, Fertility, Macro-Micro Linkages, Population & Environment



(PhD, University of Michigan, 2007)

Dr. Brauner-Otto is a social demographer studying global family change with a focus on the relationship between social context (e.g. schools, community organizations) and demographic behaviors over the life course. She is particularly interested in which dimensions of social context (e.g. characteristics of schools or health services) matter the most and how context influences the individual. Her research program has three axes: social influences on global family change, macro-level perspectives on social organizations and fertility, and methodological tools for studying global family change. Previously published papers examine the relationship between specific services offered by a community organization, type of religious practices, and the specific kinds of natural resources available and fertility and marriage behavior in Nepal and institutional influences on fertility in low fertility settings.

Brauner-Otto’s research in the coming years will focus on labor markets as a key dimension of social context influencing global family change. This work, funded by SSHRC and NIH, will use the Chitwan Valley Family Study to investigate the relationship between female labor force participation and child outcomes in Nepal, a poor country where participation in paid, non-family labor has only recently become widespread. Using data from low fertility settings where women’s labor force participation is well established, she will investigate how specific dimensions of work (e.g. job autonomy and security) may influence child well-being, fertility intentions and behavior, and other aspects of family life.


Selected Publications

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R., Sarah Baird, and Dirgha Ghimire. 2022. “Women’s Employment and Children’s Education: Longitudinal evidence from Nepal.” Social Science Research 103.

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R. 2021. “Housing and Fertility: A macro-level, multi-country investigation, 1993-2017.” Housing Studies.

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R. and Lisa D. Pearce. 2020. “Gendered Expressions of Parental Religiosity, Associated Attitudes toward Marriage, and the Timing of Children’s Marriages.” Sociology of Religion 81(4) 413-438.

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R., William G. Axinn, and Dirgha J. Ghimire. 2020. “Parents’ Marital Quality and Children’s Transition to Adulthood.” Demography 57: 195-220. (PMCID: PMC2978908)

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R., Sarah Baird, and Dirgha Ghimire. 2019. “Maternal Employment and Child Health in Nepal: The importance of job type and timing across the child’s first five years.” Social Science & Medicine. 224: 94-105. DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.02.009

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R. and Claudia Geist. 2018. “Uncertainty, Doubts, and Delays: Economic context and fertility expectations among young Americans.” Journal of Family and Economic Issues. 39(1): 88-102. DOI 10.1007/s10834-017-9548-1

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R. and Axinn, William G. 2017. “Natural resource collection and desired family size: A longitudinal test of environment-population theories.” Population and Environment 38(4): 381-406. DOI 10.1007/s11111-016-0267-6

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R. 2016. “Canadian Fertility 1980-2013: A story of regional variation.” In R. Rindfuss and M. Choe (Eds.), Low fertility, institutions, and their Policies: Variations across industrialized countries, pages 99-130. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Rindfuss, Ronald R., Minja Kim Choe, and Sarah R. Brauner-Otto. 2016. “The Emergence of Two Distinct Fertility Regimes in Economically Advanced Countries” Population Research and Policy Review 35(3): 287-304. DOI 10.1007/s11113-016-9387-z

Clark, Shelley and Sarah R. Brauner-Otto. 2015. “Divorce in Sub-Saharan Africa:  Are Unions Becoming Less Stable?” Population and Development Review 41(4): 583-605.


Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses:

SOCI 211 Sociological Inquiry

SOCI 234 Population and Society

SOCI 331 Population and the Environment

SOCI 405 Family over the Life Course

Graduate Seminar:

SOCI 502 Sociology of Fertility

SOCI 626 Demographic Methods


Selected research grants

"GAGE: Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence, Jordan” Co-Investigator. Overseas Development Institute UK. (September 2020-April 2021).

“Women’s Work and Child Wellbeing Across the Life-course: Evidence from Nepal.” PI. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. #81534 (April 2019-March 2024)

“Work-family conflict in Canada: The role of women’s work characteristics.” PI. Internal Social Sciences and Humanities Development Grants, McGill University (Feb 2019).

“Institutional Influences on Low Fertility in a New Data World.” PI. Directeurs d’Études Associés, Fondation maison des sciences de l’homme (September 2017-October 2017).

“Female Labor Force Participation and Child Outcomes.” Co-PI with Dirgha Ghimire (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R03 (August 2016-July 2018).

“Liens entre logement et fécondité: une analyse comparative de divers pays.” PI. Fonds de recherche du Québec-Société et culture, Établissement de nouveaux professeurs-chercheurs (May 2015-April 2018). 


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