Stephen L. Klineberg

Areas of Interest: 
Contemporary social change, survey research methodologies, urban and environmental sociology


A graduate of Haverford College, Stephen Klineberg received an M.A. in Psychopathology from the University of Paris and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard. After teaching at Princeton, he joined Rice University’s Sociology Department in 1972. The recipient of twelve major teaching awards, including the George R. Brown Lifetime Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Piper Professor Award, he is a faculty associate and divisional advisor at Lovett College, where he twice served as Interim Master. His wife, Margaret, is a practicing attorney. They have two children and five grandchildren, three of whom are currently Rice undergraduates. 

In March 1982, he and his students initiated the annual “Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey,” now in its 33rd year of tracking the remarkable changes in the demographic patterns, economic outlooks, experiences, and beliefs of Harris County residents. No other metropolitan region in America has been the focus of a long-term longitudinal research program of this scope. Houston recovered from the oil-boom collapse in the early 1980s to find itself squarely in the midst of the new restructured economy and an accelerating demographic revolution. No city more clearly exemplifies the transformations that are refashioning the social and political landscape across all of urban America. 

The research has attracted great interest and generous support from foundations, corporations, and individuals in the wider Houston community and beyond. That support has made it possible not only to fund the annual surveys, but also to expand their reach with additional “oversample” interviews in Houston’s Anglo, African-American, and Latino communities, and to undertake more focused surveys on health, education, and the arts in the Houston area (the SHEA studies). In 1995, 2002, and 2011, the project reached large representative samples from Houston’s varied Asian communities as well, with one-fourth of the interviews conducted in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, or Korean. Beginning with the 2012 study, the annual surveys are now reaching residents from the entire nine-county Houston metropolitan region. 

Co-author of The Present of Things Future: Explorations of Time in Human Experience, Klineberg has written numerous articles and appears frequently on radio and television, and in the print and social media. A much sought-after speaker, he is completing a series of published reports (and soon, a book) on this ongoing research, while also serving as the founding director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

Recent Publications

Lewis, Valerie A., Michael O. Emerson, and Stephen L. Klineberg. 2011. “Who We’ll Live With: Racial Composition Preferences of Whites, Blacks, and Latinos.” Social Forces, vol. 89, no. 4, June, pp. 1385-1407.

Klineberg, Stephen L. and Liz Jackson. 2012. “Is It an Aging Process or a Generational Divide? Historical changes are under way in Houstonians’ support for diversity and gay rights, but not in their outlooks on the future or their positions on abortion.” Houston Chronicle, Sunday, April 1, page B8.

Klineberg, Stephen L. and Jie Wu. 2012. The Houston Arts Survey: Participation, Perceptions, and Prospects. Rice University: Kinder Institute for Urban Research, September.

Klineberg, Stephen L. and Emily Braswell. 2012. “Is Houston About to Experience an ‘Urban Renaissance’? Findings from the Kinder Houston Area Survey (1995-2012).” Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston, 90, Fall, pp. 34-39.

Klineberg, Stephen L. and Jie Wu. 2013. Diversity and Transformation among Asians in Houston: Findings from the Kinder Institute’s “Houston Area Asian Survey” (1995, 2002, 2011). Rice University: Kinder Institute for Urban Research, February.

Klineberg, Stephen L., Jie Wu, and Kiara Douds. 2013. The 2012 Houston Education Survey: Public Perceptions in a Critical Time. Rice University: Kinder Institute for Urban Research, November.

Klineberg, Stephen L., Jie Wu, and Christina Barrera. 2014. What Accounts for Health Disparities? Findings from the Houston Surveys (2001-2013). Rice University: Kinder Institute for Urban Research, April.

Walker, Kelsey A. and Stephen L. Klineberg. 2014. “Many Reasons Translate into Building a Reliable Transit System Here.” Houston Chronicle, Sunday, June 8, page B13.

Klineberg, Stephen L. and Mary Buchanan. “Houston, Immigration to.” Forthcoming. The Oxford African American Studies Center.


Stephen L. Klineberg
Professor Ph.D., Harvard University

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