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Sonalde Desai

Senior Fellow

Sonalde Desai is a Senior Fellow at NCAER with a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland.  She is a demographer whose work deals primarily with human development in developing countries with a particular focus on gender and class inequalities. While most of her research focusses on India, she has also undertaken comparative studies across South Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.  She has published articles in a wide range of sociology and demography journals. At present, she is leading a large national representative panel survey, India Human Development Survey, at NCAER.


  • 2009-Present: Senior Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi
  • 1994-Present: Assistant to Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland. Coordinator Demography Program in Sociology Department
  • 2007-2008: Visiting Scholar, The World Bank Development Research Group (DEC-RG)
  • 2000-2001: Visiting Scholar, National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi
  • 1989-1994: Associate, Research Division, The Population Council, New York
  • 1987-1989: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Labor and Population Program, The RAND Corporation
  • 1986-1987: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Population Research Center, University of Chicago
  • Sum. 1986: Visiting Scholar, Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education, West Berlin


  • PhD Sociology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, 1987
  • MA Sociology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1980
  • BA Sociology and Political Science, University of Bombay, India, 1978
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Research Interests

Human Development