Michelle Eilers, Ph.D.

Sociologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Minnesota Population Center


My name is Michelle Eilers (she/her). I am a quantitative sociologist and demographer, and my research interests include gender and sexuality, social psychology, and cultural sociology. I use diverse quantitative methods and design survey experiments to answer questions about how social norms about sexual behavior and relationships are adopted and deployed in complementary and countervailing ways throughout adulthood.

My sole author paper, published in Demography,  moves beyond decades of research that explore how women's fertility desires impact their reproductive behaviors to estimate how a young woman's sexual desires co-occur with her fertility desires in predicting her reproductive behaviors.  This research shows that in early adulthood, a woman's desire for sex is often a stronger predictor of whether a woman has sexual intercourse or uses contraceptive methods than is her desire to avoid pregnancy. My collaborative research has been published in Pediatrics, Demography, Journal of Marriage and Family, Contraception, among others. 

My research has been generously funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), PEO International, and the UT Graduate School, and recognized with awards from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP), the Midwest Sociological Society (MSS), and the UT College of Liberal Arts Dean's Distinguished PhD Graduate Award.

I completed a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin in May 2023 and am a postdoctoral research fellow at the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. I earned an MSc in Demography and Health from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a BA in Anthropology and Community Health from Tufts University.