Personal profile

Research overview

Elspeth Graham studies population change and health variations. Current research projects focus on: (a)  fertility change in Europe in the context of the economic recession; (b) the impact of parental migration on children left behind in South-East Asia; (c) residential age segregation in the UK; and (d) upward health transfers between adult children and their parents. Other recent projects have examined local 'cultures' of fertility, intergenerational relationships and family formation, and socio-spatial mobility. She continues to work on theory and method in human geography and demography, especially the development of mixed-methods research.

She leads inter-disciplinary research teams in the UK (as Co-Director and Scottish Coordinator of the ESRC Centre for Population Change) and Southeast Asia (as joint PI on the CHAMPSEA project). Recent postgraduates under her supervision have researched the urban housing market and geographical variations in partnership and fertility, and the relationships between neighbourhood regeneration and community health.     

For further information, see the Population and Health Research Group

Research interests

Elspeth Graham’s research interests lie in the inter-related areas of population and health, with particular attention to the spatial aspects of population change and health variations. Her main focus is on the ways in which demographic characteristics and health characteristics vary across population groups and across places. She is committed to working in inter-disciplinary research teams and to using her geographical expertise to enhance the evidence base for policy development at local, national and global scales.

1. Population Change/ Demography:

- Fertility in the context of econiomic recession and international migration: a study of Italy, Spain and the UK conducted within the ESRC Centre for Population Change (see ).

- Other topics include demographic change and housing across the life course, low fertility and population ageing in Europe, inter-generational relationships and family formation, and theory and method in population geography and demography.


2. Health and Well-being:

- Child Health and Migrant Parents in South-east Asia (CHAMPSEA): a four country study (Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia) examining the effects of parental absence on the health and well-being of children under 12 years of age who are left behind while their parents work in another country. A second wave of data has now been collected from the same households in Indonesia and the Philippines (see for further details).

 - Other topics include the influence of adult children on their parents' health; gender, mental health and well-being; and urban regeneration and community health.


3. History and philosophy of geography:

- The nature of theory in geography, including conceptions of human agency and philosophies underlying human geography (especially social theory and postmodernism).

- Mixed methods research – the challenges of combining insights from quantitative/statistical analyses and qualitative interpretative methods.


For further information, see the Population and Health Research Group

Academic/Professional Qualification

M.A., University of St Andrews; Ph.D, Dunelm

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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