Associate Professor

Office: Social Sciences 414
Phone: 773-834-0334

PhD 2007, University of Texas at Austin


My training is in two areas: social demography & the sociology of religion. Bridging these two fields, my work features the demographer’s characteristic concern with data and denominators and an insistence on connecting demographic processes to questions of meaning. I ask a lot of questions about data quality, and I may or may not be addicted to data collection.

I’ve written extensively on the role of religion in the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but religion permeates my research, even when it isn’t present as a variable. Since 2008 I have been the principal investigator of Tsogolo la Thanzi (TLT)—an ongoing longitudinal study of young adults in Malawi. Demographers use terms like “relationship instability” and “fertility trajectories,” but very plainly: TLT asks how young adults negotiate relationships, sex, and childbearing with a severe AIDS epidemic swirling around them. The TLT research centre, located in Balaka (Southern Malawi), is staffed by over two dozen talented locals and supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Selected Publications

Trinitapoli, Jenny. Forthcoming in 2023. An Epidemic of Uncertainty: Navigating HIV and Young Adulthood in Malawi. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Weinreb, Max. D, and Jenny Trinitapoli. 2022. "printcase: A command for visualizing single observations." The Stata Journal 22(4):958-968.

Smith-Greenaway, Emily, and Jenny Trinitapoli. 2020. “Maternal Cumulative Prevalence Measures of Child Mortality Show Heavy Burden in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(8):4027–33.

Oh, Jeong Hyun, Sara Yeatman, and Jenny Trinitapoli. 2019. “Data Collection as Disruption: Insights from a Longitudinal Study of Young Adulthood.” American Sociological Review 84(4):634–63.

Trinitapoli, Jenny and Sara Yeatman. 2018. “The Flexibility of Fertility Preferences in a Context of Uncertainty.” Population and Development Review

Trinitapoli, Jenny. 2015. “AIDS & Religious Life in Malawi: Rethinking How Population Dynamics Shape Culture.” Population-e 70(2):245-270.

Trinitapoli, Jenny and Alexander Weinreb. 2012. Religion and AIDS in Africa. New York: Oxford University Press.

Trinitapoli, Jenny and Sara E. Yeatman. 2011. “Uncertainty and Fertility in a Generalized AIDS Epidemic.” American Sociological Review 76(6):935–54.