Professional Summary

I have a Ph.D. in Geography from Indiana University with specializations in demographic analysis and urban geography.

Since 1994, I have been on the faculty at the University of Connecticut where I have directed the University’s undergraduate Urban Studies program, the Center for Population Research, and Connecticut’s US Census Data Center.

My research focuses the dynamics of migration within developed countries, the impacts of migration decisions on family and individual well-being, the causes and consequences of declining internal migration, and the demographic dynamics of small areas. This research has been published in leading social science journals with support from national and international funding agencies.

In 2013, the American Association of Geographers honored me with its Research Excellence Award in Population Geography. In 2014, I was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Applied Demographic Analysis and Research

I consult for state and local governments, social service agencies, and the private sector on demographic and urban issues related to issues such as,

  • The impacts of declining geographic mobility on
    • regional economic development policies related to talent development, attraction, and retention;
    • corporate human resources, location decisions, and employee mobility practices;
  • State and local population projections, including school projections, using stochastic methods; and
  • Regional quality of life and economic growth benchmarking.

Examples of groups I have consulted with are the Connecticut Department of Education, Cartus, Engine Group, Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, Indianapolis, IN, Carmel, IN, Indianapolis Public Transportation, West Hartford, CT, and Connecticut Office of Policy and Management.

Recent Posts

  • Pursuing Population Growth May Be Neither Effective nor Practical
    Cities, metros, and states all see population growth as both a measure of success as well as a means for improving quality of life and economic growth. A recent article in Governing questions these assumptions (Population Growth Means a City Is Thriving, or Does It?). Some expectations for population growth as an engine of economic […]
    Posted on February 14, 2020
  • Fewer Americans Moving Fewer Americans Moving
    The Conversation recently published an article focused on my research on the long term decline in geographic mobility within the United States and some of its consequences. The following is an interactive graphic showing those trends. For more, see Why Americans Are Staying Put, Instead of Moving to a New City or State.
    Posted on February 14, 2020


Photo of Thomas Cooke

Prof. Thomas Cooke

Department of Geography

University of Connecticut