Richelle L. Winkler

Richelle L. Winkler


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Associate Professor of Sociology and Demography, Social Sciences

  • PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2010
  • MS, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004
  • BA, University of South Carolina, 1999


I am a multidisciplinary scholar operating at the intersections of sociology, demography, geography, community development, and applied social science.  My research is focused on spatial inequality, including patterns of residential segregation and distributions of social and environmental resources. My primary topic of study has been rural communities and especially relationships between community development, internal migration, and resource distribution. A key professional goal is that my scholarship will help to understand and promote rural community sustainability.

The research projects I engage with tend to be either demographic in nature or to focus on community and environmental sociology or both. For example, my research team recently released a dataset of net migration by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin for every county in the U.S. 2000-2010. The data can be downloaded from a public website that allows for interactive mapping and chart-making. See  I'm currently analyzing these data to understand how net migration by age and race have contributed to racial segregation over time. Another demographic project involves analyzing how demographic patterns of hunters and anglers are changing over time and across space with important implications for conservation policy.

I am very interested in community engaged scholarship in collaboration with communities on projects related to social and environmental sustainability. I've been working on a long-term partnership with Main Street Calumet to understand topics ranging from how the community's First Friday art tours impact community development to exploring the feasibility of tapping into minewater for geothermal energy. My Communities and Research course (SS 4700) engages in these projects.

In my personal life, I love hiking, playing and coaching volleyball, cross country skiing, canoeing, and watching sports (especially Badger basketball).

Areas of Expertise

  • Rural Sociology
  • Population and Environment
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Community Engaged Scholarship
  • Internal Migration
  • GIS and spatial analysis

Recent Publications

  • Winkler, Richelle. 2013. “Living on lakes: Segregated communities and social exclusion in a natural amenity destination.” The Sociological Quarterly 54 (1): 105-129. Read More
  • Winkler, Richelle and Keith Warnke. 2013. “The future of hunting: An age-period-cohort analysis of deer hunter decline.” Population and Environment 34(4): 460-480 Read More
  • Desmond, M. W. An, R. Winkler, and T. Ferriss. 2013. "Evicting Children." Social Forces 92 (1): 303-327. Read More
  • Mayer, A., R. Winkler and L. Fry. 2014. “Classification of Watersheds into Integrated Social and Biophysical Indicators with Clustering Analysis.” Ecological Indicators 45: 340-349. Read More
  • Winkler, Richelle, Schewe, Rebecca and David Matarrita-Cascante. 2013. “Lakes and community: The importance of natural landscapes in social research.” Society and Natural Resources 26 (2): 158-175. Read More
  • Richelle Winkler & Rozalynn Klaas (2012): Residential segregation by age in the United States, Journal of Maps, DOI:10.1080/17445647.2012.739099 Read More
  • Winkler, Richelle, Shaun Golding and Cheng Cheng. 2011. “Boom or bust? How migration impacts population composition in different types of natural resource dependent communities in the rural US.” In L. Kulcsar and K. Curtis (eds.), International Handbook of Rural Demography. The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis. New York: Springer. Read More
  • Winkler, Richelle. 2009. “Social capital and concerns facing lower income young adults in the Brainerd Lakes area.” (Community Engaged Scholarship). 11/10/2009. ID#ML6SYW4F. Read More

Recent Funding

  • Geographic Analysis of Age-Period-Cohort Dimensions in Michigan Deer Hunter Participation. Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
  • Developing a Community Guide to Harnessing Geothermal Energy from Minewater. Environmental Protection Agency, P3 program for People, Prosperity, and Planet. Phase 1 award.
  • Contextualizing Family Food Decisions: The Role of Household Characteristics, Neighborhood Deprivation, and Local Food Environments. Co-Investigator. University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research and USDA Economic Research Service.
  • Age Specific Net Migration Estimates for US Counties. National Institutes of Health/NICHD
  • Self-Regulated Forest Sustainability: A Simulation and Sociological Analysis of Voluntary Incentive Programs. Co-investigator. NSF Division of Social and Economic Sciences, Law and Social Sciences Program.


  • "Net Migration Patterns as a Tool to Understand Community Change" (with Katherine Curtis). Webinar hosted by the Population Reference Bureau. Sept 18, 2013.
  • "Recreational Homes, Gateway Communities, and Rural Development." Webinar sponsored by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development. March 13, 2013.
  • "Exploring the Social Feasibility of Minewater Geothermal in Calumet" Invited presentation to the Houghton Rotary Club. May 22, 2014
  • “The Demographic State of our Society: Implications for Wildlife Conservation and Management.” Keynote address at the Organization of Wildlife Planners annual meeting. Breckenridge, CO, Sept. 23, 2012.
  • "Young Adult Net Migration: An Ecological Analysis of Environmental, Social, and Economic Factors." Invited seminar to Cornell University's Community and Regional Development Institute. September 25, 2013.
  • “Segregated by Age: Are we becoming more divided?” (with Rozalynn Klaas). Population Association of America Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, May 2012.
  • "Michigan's Changing Demographics: Challenging Traditions and Driving Innovations." Invited presentation to the General Session of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division annual meeting. August 14, 2013.
  • "Integrating Patterns? The Role of Migration in Reducing Race/Ethnic Segregation by Age." Rural Sociological Society annual meeting, New Orleans, LA. Aug 1, 2014.
  • "Working Toward a Renaissance? Community Engaged Scholarship and Community Development" (with John Green). Organized panel session for the Community Development Society Conference, Dubuque, IA. July 22, 2014.
  • "Net Migration Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for U.S. Counties, 2000-2010." Population Association of America annual meeting, New Orleans, LA. April 11, 2013.

Research Projects

  • Age Specific Net Migration Estimates for US Counties
  • Community-Based Participatory Research with Main Street Calumet
  • Residential Segregation by Age and Race/Ethnicity
  • Hunter Demographics: Age-Period-Cohort analysis of the hunting population with implications for wildlife conservation and management
  • Climate Change and Patterns of Internal Migration in the US

Teaching Experience

  • SS2700 – Introduction to Sociology
  • SS5400 – Sociology of the Environment
  • SS3315/SS5315 – Population and Environment
  • SS 4700: Communities and Research