J. David Hacker

I am a demographic historian with expertise in nineteenth and early twentieth century census data and the use of indirect methods to estimate long-term population trends and differentials. Currently, my research focuses on three topics: (1) the demographic cost and consequences of the American Civil War; (2) the long-term decline of fertility between 1790 and 1940; and (3) the demographic behavior of immigrants in the early twentieth century. I am currently principal investigator of an NIH-funded project to construct and disseminate complete-count linked datasets for the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses.

Educational Background & Specialties


  • Historical Demography
  • Quantitative History
  • American Civil War
Courses Taught
  • HIST 8970: The Demographic Transition
  • HIST 3797: History of Population
  • HIST 3812: Civil War and Reconstruction
  • HIST 3801: The Peoples of Early America
  • HIST 5970/8970: Fertility and the Family
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Co-editor, Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History:


  • Notorious and Palpable: The Demographic Consequences of the American Civil War (under advanced contract with the University of North Carolina Press, American Civil War series):
  • The Decline of American Fertility, 1800-1940:
  • Principal Investigator, R-01 Award, “Models of Demographic and Health Changes following Military Conflict,” 1 R01-HD082120-01:
  • Ready, Willing, and Able? Impediments to the Onsetof Marital Fertility Decline in the United States. Hacker, J. David, Author, 2016. Link
  • Socioeconomic Status and Net Fertility during the Fertility Decline: A Comparative Analysis of Canada, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and the USA: Hacker, J. David, Martin Dribe and Francesco Scalone, Population Studies, 68 135-149, 2014. Link
  • New estimates of Census Coverage in the United States, 1850-1930: Hacker, J. David, Social Science History, 37.1, 71-101, (2013). Link
  • Intergenerational Transmission of Reproductive Behavior during the Onset of the Fertility Transition in the United States: Hacker, J. David, Julia A. Jennings, Allison R. Sullivan, and J. David Hacker, Journal of Interdisciplinary History , 42.4, 543-569, (2012). Link
  • A Census-Based Count of the Civil War Dead: Hacker, J. David, Civil War History, 57.4, 306-347, (2011). Link
  • Historical Demography in the United States: Hacker, J. David, Emily Merchant/Per Axelsson and Peter Sköld, eds., Peter Lang, A Global History of Historical Demography: Half a Century of Interdisciplinarity, 2016. Link
  • Has the Demographic Impact of Civil War Deaths Been Exaggerated?: Hacker, J. David, Civil War History, 60.4, 453-458, 2014.
  • The Construction of Life Tables for the American Indian Population at the Turn of the Twentieth Century: Hacker, J. David, Per Axelsson and Peter Sköld, eds., Berghahn Books, Indigenous Populations and Demography: The Complex Relation Between Identity and Statistics, 73-93, 2011.
  • Spatial Aspects of the American Fertility Transition in the Nineteenth Century: Hacker, J. David, Michael R. Haines/Myron P. Gutmann, Glenn D. Deane, Kenneth M. Sylvester, and Emily R. Merchant, eds., Springer, Navigating Time and Space in Population Studies, 37-63, 2011.
  • Decennial Life Tables for the White Population of the United States, 1790-1900: Hacker, J. David, Historical Methods, 43.3 45-79, 2010.
  • The Effect of the Civil War on Southern Marriage Patterns: Hacker, J. David, Libra R. Hilde and James H. Jones, Journal of Southern History, 76.1 39-70, 2010.
  • Peer Effects in the American Civil War: Hacker, J. David, Historical Methods, 42.4 138-38, 2009.
  • Economic, Demographic, and Anthropometric Correlates of First Marriage in the Mid Nineteenth-Century United States: Hacker, J. David, 307-345, Social Science History, 32.3, , 2008.
  • American Indian Mortality in the Late Nineteenth Century: The Impact of Federal Assimilation Policies on a Vulnerable Population. Hacker, J. David, Author, 2005.
  • Rethinking the ‘Early’ Decline of Marital Fertility in the United States: Hacker, J. David, Demography, 40.4 605-20, 2003.
  • Public Use Microdata Samples of the 1860 Census of Slave Inhabitants: Hacker, J. David, with J. Trent Alexander, Sean Condon, and Jason Carl Digman, Historical Methods, 36.1 21-26, 2003.
  • The Human Cost of War: White Population in the United States, 1850-1880: Hacker, J. David, Journal of Economic History, 61.2 486-489, 2001.
  • Child Naming, Religion, and the Decline of Marital Fertility in Nineteenth-Century America: Hacker, J. David, History of the Family: An International Quarterly, 4.3, 339-365, 1999.
  • Public Use Microdata Samples of the 1860 and 1870 U.S. Censuses of Population. Hacker, J. David, with Steven Ruggles, Andrea R. Foroughi, Brad D. Jarvis, and Walter L. Sargent, Author, 1999.
  • Trends and Determinants of Adult Mortality in Early New England: Reconciling Old and New Evidence from the Long Eighteenth Century: Hacker, J. David, Social Science History, 21.4, 481-519, 1997.
  • Cultural Demography: New England Deaths and the Puritan Perception of Risk: Hacker, J. David, (with Daniel Scott Smith), Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 26.3, 367-92, 1996.
  • Order Out of Chaos: General Design of the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Hacker, J. David, (with Steven Ruggles and Matthew Sobek), Historical Methods, 28.1, 33-39, 1995.
  • Principal Investigator, R-01 Award, “Models of Demographic and Health Changes following Military Conflict,” 1 R01-HD082120-01, May 1, 2015 - April 30, 2020
  • John T. Hubbell Prize for the best article published in Civil War History, 2011
  • Principal Investigator, NICHD Career Development Award, “The Decline of Fertility in the United States, 1790-2000”, 2006 - 2011
  • Dorothy S. Thomas Award for best paper on the interrelationships among social, economic and demographic variables, Population Association of America, 2001