bio

Leslie Headshot-1

Hi. My name is Leslie Root and I’m a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Colorado Boulder. I received a PhD in demography from UC Berkeley in August 2020.

My research interests are wide-ranging. I believe both qualitative and quantitative methods are useful in understanding population processes. My dissertation incorporates interviews, participant observation, and demographic methods to examine the rise in mean age at childbearing and increase in fertility over the course of the Putin era in Russia.

My postdoc position is with the Colorado Fertility Project, which aims to use administrative data sources to better measure the effect of contraceptive access on people’s lives, through both fertility and non-fertility pathways. I am hard at work generating better estimates of U.S. fertility patterns, particularly at the state level; by demographic subgroup; and by parity. Previously, I held a postdoc with the CenSoc project, which links the 1940 U.S. Census to Social Security death records.

Other topics that have long animated my research and intellectual trajectory include the fertility postponement transition and lowest-low fertility; fertility intentions; parity distributions; voluntary childlessness and popular ethics of childbearing; gender, reproductive labor, neoliberalism, and post-socialism; reproductive justice; and the politics of abortion and contraception.

Methodologically, I am a true Berkeley demographer with a deep appreciation for classic demographic methods and innovations in mathematical demography. I’m also interested in record linkage and in Bayesian statistics, and I’ve dabbled in quantitative text analysis. 

Russia and Eurasia remain close to my heart, and I have extensive experience living and working in the Russian regions (Vladivostok, Ulan-Ude, Kazan’, and Taganrog). I am fluent in Russian, and speak somewhat passable Turkish.