December 10, 2014 | Spotlight

Southern Demographic Association Honors Institute Faculty Member for Excellence

Writer: Roger Nielsen

Mathew Hauer, the head of the Institute of Government's applied demography program, was recognized by the Southern Demographic Association recently for an innovative research paper that integrates population projections for the year 2100 with land threatened by rising sea levels.

Hauer shared the association's Walter Terrie Award for State and Local Demography with the paper's coauthor, former Institute faculty member Jason Evans.

Their paper, "Population Projections and Risk of Inundation from MSLR for the United States in 2100," used census data to better approximate how many coastal residents could be affected by sea level rise in 2100. A rise of 6 feet could place up to 10 million people at risk by the end of the century, according to the paper.

Hauer and Evans' work was recognized as the best paper on an applied topic presented at the association's 2014 annual meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, in October. The Terrie Award honors outstanding work in demographic analysis that informs practical decision making about current problems or issues. The award is named for the late Walt Terrie, who was a faculty member and applied demographer at Florida State University and an active member of the Southern Demographic Association.

"I'm just really flattered to be recognized by my peers for an applied demographics study that's important to coastal residents and policy makers around the country. Plus, this is a direct offshoot of the Institute's award-winning sea level rise adaptation work in collaboration with Georgia Sea Grant," Hauer said.

The Institute partnered with Georgia Sea Grant, UGA Marine Extension (MAREX), the College of Environment and Design, and others to help the City of Tybee Island prepare for rising sea levels. The work included using year 2100 Georgia population projections to estimate how many people could be at risk, and Hauer and Evans extended the risk assessment throughout the country because nearly 40 percent of Americans live in coastal communities.

The Tybee Island Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan won National Sea Grant's Superior Outreach Programming Award in September. The Tybee collaboration previously won the Sea Grant South Atlantic Region's Outstanding Achievement Award and the "Four for the Future" Award from Georgia Trend magazine and the UGA Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. The Institute, Georgia Sea Grant, and MAREX are UGA public service and outreach units.