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Kevin J.A. Thomas

Kevin J.A. Thomas

Associate Professor of Sociology, and Demography, and African Studies

211 Oswald Tower
Office Phone: (814) 863-2387


  1. Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)
  2. M.A. (University of Pennsylvania)
  3. M.D.A. (Western Michigan University)
  4. B.A. Honors (University of Sierra Leone)


Kevin J. A. Thomas is an Associate Professor of Sociology, Demography, and African Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, and a Research Associate at Penn State’s Population Research Institute (PRI). He completed his Ph.D. and Masters degrees in Demography at the University of Pennsylvania. Before then, he earned a Masters in Development Administration from Western Michigan University, and a B.A. (with Honors) from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. After completing his PhD, Dr Thomas worked as a David Bell Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and later as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Initiative for Global Health. Thomas also worked with the Migration Policy Research Program of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to produce the World Migration report in 2003 and has served as a consultant for several organizations including the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) in Washington, DC. His research interests include migration and immigration processes, especially among African-origin populations, children and families, and race and ethnic inequality. He has received a number of awards, including the Young Scholars Fellowship of the Foundation for Child Development. His work has been published in leading peer-reviewed outlets such as the International Migration Review, Demography, and the Lancet. Dr Thomas has also served as an expert witness on immigration issues and on the National Research Council’s panel on the Integration of Immigrants into US society.

His recent book titled, Diverse Pathways: Race and the incorporation of Black, White, and Arab-origin African Immigrants (Michigan State University Press) provides a critical look at the significance of race and ethnicity for understanding the assimilation experiences of Africans in the US.

Courses Taught:

  • AFR 110: Introduction to contemporary Africa
  • *AFR 297C: Poverty in Africa
  • *SOC/AFR 527: Migration, Urbanization and Policy
  • *SOC 423: Social Demography
  • *SOC 409: Racial and Ethnic Inequality in America

*Denotes a new undergraduate course or graduate seminar