Samuel Preston is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania Population Studies Center. From 1968 to 1972, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Demography at the University of California, Berkeley, then moved to Department of Sociology at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he directed the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology from 1972 to 1977. After a short stint in the United Nations Population Division (1977–79), he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. For the last three decades, he has been a Professor of Sociology and has served in almost every leadership role on the Penn campus, including multiple stints as departmental chair and Population Studies Center director, and most recently as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Preston’s major research interest is in the health of populations. He has written primarily about mortality trends and patterns in large aggregates, including twentieth century mortality transitions and black/white differentials in the United States. Recent research has focused on the mortality effects of cigarette smoking and obesity in developed countries. Dr. Preston earned a PhD in Economics from Princeton University and a BA in Economics from Amherst College.