Research Centers and Institutes

Institute on Aging

470 Urban Center


The Institute on Aging (IOA), in the College of Urban and Public Affairs, is a multidisciplinary research and educational organization. Established in 1969, the IOA was one of the first centers in the United States to focus on the social, psychological, and economic issues related to aging. Our research is funded by federal, state, and private sources, with projects designed to advance knowledge that serves an aging society. Educational programs are offered at the undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. The IOA is actively engaged in community partnerships.

Our Mission

Institute on Aging faculty, staff, and students are dedicated to enhancing understanding of aging and facilitating opportunities for elders, families, and communities to thrive.


Institute on Aging faculty specialize in research on a variety of topics, including:

  • best practices in housing and long-term care;
  • global aging in developing countries;
  • planning for age-friendly communities;
  • aging services and organizational decision making;
  • work-life issues and family caregiving;
  • social relationships in late life;
  • research methods.

Degree and Training Programs

The Institute on Aging offers courses and areas of specialization in gerontology for undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, master's, and doctoral students, as well as research and teaching opportunities. Each of the educational programs offered provides a multi-disciplinary core curriculum in gerontology and is designed for students seeking instruction in aging services, research, and/or policy. The IOA is a member of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and the Oregon Gerontological Association.

Graduate Programs.

Doctorate in Urban Studies with a concentration in gerontology.

Doctorate in Public Affairs and Policy with a concentration in gerontology.

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, which is a postbaccalaureate program for those seeking additional education in aging studies; it is offered as a stand-alone program or as an area of emphasis in conjunction with other graduate degrees.

Undergraduate Programs.

Concentration in Aging Services within the Health Studies major.

Minor in Aging Services.

Training for Professionals

The Institute on Aging is a partner in the Oregon Geriatric Education Consortium (OGEC), a collaboration among the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University, and Oregon State University, dedicated to providing training in gerontology and geriatrics to health professionals.The OGEC Resource Center, housed within the IOA, provides reference and training materials for geriatric health care, long-term care, and higher education professionals in gerontology and geriatrics across Oregon.

Lifelong Learning

The Senior Adult Learning Center (SALC) provides opportunities for continuous intellectual enrichment and personal growth of older adults. Oregon residents aged 65 and older can register through the SALC to audit Portland State University courses on any topic with no tuition costs on a space-available basis.

The Retired Associates of Portland State University is an affiliated membership organization open to anyone aged 50 or older and sponsored by the Institute on Aging. It provides fellowship for those interested in lifelong learning and leadership opportunities.

Community Service and Partnerships

Through partnerships with a wide variety of organizations that serve older adults locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, faculty and students at the Institute on Aging seek to build capacity for organizations and communities to address the needs and strengths of older people living near and far. Programs are aimed at enhancing the lives of older persons who lack adequate resources in the United States and in less developed regions of the world, including Nicaragua. The goal is to test service learning, housing, and community development models for identifying and addressing some of the needs of and opportunities for elders in the United States and abroad. Other service initiatives focus on creating age-friendly communities and enhancing the quality of long-term care.

Population Research Center

780 Urban Center


Through demographic research and teaching, the Population Research Center (PRC) serves the people of Oregon by addressing the causes and implications of demographic change for communities across the state.

One of the earliest research centers within the College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA), the center prepares official population estimates for Oregon cities and counties through the Population Estimates Program. The center also operates as the Oregon State Data Center (SDC)—where the center disseminates social, demographic, and economic data to state, regional, local, and tribal governments, and to non-governmental data users. Both programs, along with responsibilities of the Federal-State Cooperative Program for Population Estimates (FSCPE), are carried out through a long-standing partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. The center houses historical census data, along with data from the American Community Survey and other U.S. Census Bureau products and makes these data available to faculty, students, and the general public.

Typical research activities within the center include: enrollment forecasts for school districts, demographic needs-based studies, social and economic factors affecting population change, population geography, and demographic methods. Population-based research involves close-working relationships with not-for-profit groups, non-governmental organizations, service districts, municipalities, and city, county, and various governmental agencies across Oregon.

The center’s current staff includes personnel with formal training in demography, sociology, geography, economics, urban and regional planning, community health, and statistics. This variety of expertise enables the center to provide a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary laboratory of learning for students pursuing population research.

Center faculty and staff provide demographic expertise for questions relating to data availability and techniques and also teach courses in applied demography.