LEXINGTON, KY. – Sidney Goldstein died on Aug. 5, in Lexington. He was born on Aug. 4, 1927, to Max Goldstein and Bella Howscha Goldstein in New London, Connecticut. He earned bachelor’s (’49) and master’s, (’51) degrees at the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. (’53) at the University of Pennsylvania. Although his degrees were in sociology, his specific interest and lifelong work was in demography. After teaching two years at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he joined the sociology faculty at Brown University, specifically to help develop a specialty in population studies. In 1977, Brown named him the George Hazard Crooker University Professor. He held emeritus status since 1992. He was director of Brown’s Population Studies and Training Center, which he helped found, for 25 years.
Sid’s specific area of interest was the migration of people within countries, especially their movement from rural to urban areas. Beginning with analyses of migration in the United States and Denmark, his focus shifted to less developed countries, including Thailand, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Guatemala and South Africa. In each case, he was especially interested in the impact of rural-urban migration on the welfare and life patterns of the migrants and how they differed from those who were residentially stable. An important component of his work in these countries was the development of local expertise so that the work that he had begun could be carried further by in-country researchers.
A secondary, but important part of Sid’s research focused on the American Jewish population. Applying the analytic methods used in his international research, he furthered the study of Jews at the US community level and then at the national level as chair of the committee that conducted the National Jewish Population survey of 1990. For his influence, Sid has been considered the dean of American Jewish demographers. He has been recognized for this work by the National Council for Jewish Culture and the Council of Jewish Federations, as well as the Institute of Contemporary Jewry of Hebrew University.
In addition to his prolific research, Sid was a consummate teacher. He mentored over 100 students at Brown, not only during their tenure at the university, but also into their careers. His students originated in many parts of the world and now hold key positions in government, research institutes, and international organizations. Many have kept in close touch.
During his career, Sid has authored several books, well over 100 monographs and articles, and presented papers at meetings worldwide. He was the recipient of both Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, and research grants from the Social Science Foundation, the United Nations, and the National Academy of Sciences. Other recognitions include being named the 2005 Laureate of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, president of the Population Association of America, and receipt of the Chulalongorn University (Thailand) Medney
He was an active member of the Rhode Island Jewish community. He served as vice president and board member of the Bureau of Jewish Education, as board member of the Jewish Federation of RI, and as a member of the RI Jewish Historical Society. He was a longtime member of Temple Am David, serving as vice president, board member, and chair of its ritual committee. His first involvement with Jewish demography was when he conducted the Demographic Survey of the Greater Providence Jewish Community in 1963.
When not engaged in professional activities, Sid was an avid gardener and stamp collector. He developed a unique collection of stamps focusing on issues related to demography. He was also an excellent photographer and used the photos he took during his extensive travels in his teaching at Brown. At age 88 Sid discovered the joys of painting and by the time of his death had produced numerous landscapes and portraits.
Sid was deeply devoted to his family. Nothing pleased him as much as family reunions and the chance to spend time with his children and grandchildren, and in the last two years of his life with his great grandsons. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Alice Dreifuss Goldstein, three children and their spouses – Beth Leah Goldstein and Raphael Finkel of Lexington; David Louis Goldstein and Sarah Porter Goldstein of Dayton, Ohio; Brenda Ruth Goldstein and David Shragai, of El Cerrito, California – as well as seven grandchildren and three great-grandsons. He is also survived by his brother, Herman Goldstein, of Madison, Wisconsin.
Donations in his memory may be made to Ohave Zion Synagogue of Lexington, Kentucky; the Bornstein Holocaust Education Center of Providence, Planned Parenthood or The Nature Conservancy.