Leif Jensen is a Carsey Senior Fellow. He is currently a distinguished professor of rural sociology and demography at Penn State, where he has been on the faculty since 1989. From 2003 to 2006, he also served as director of Penn State's Population Research Institute.
His research interests are found within three broad areas. The first is social stratification with emphasis on issues of poverty, employment hardship, informal work, and household economic strategies in rural and urban areas; the second is demography with special attention to migration and immigration; and the third is the sociology of economic development with a focus on Latin America. His recent and ongoing research projects include studies of the informal economy in the United States, demographic and socioeconomic correlates of underemployment, spatial variation in human mortality, new immigrant destinations, and the delineation of U.S. labor market areas. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on poverty in the United States, population and development, international community and economic development, and other topics. Leif holds a doctorate degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.