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Dr R.I.A. van Gaalen (1969) has been named professor by special appointment of Register Analyses of Life Course Dynamics at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The chair was endowed by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Van Gaalen will continue to work at CBS as a scientific researcher.

Prof Ruben van Gaalen
Photo: Dirk Gillissen

Ruben van Gaalen investigates the effects of life events and circumstances in early childhood on opportunities later in life. He also takes into account interdependencies between life course domains like work, family, health and education. Depicting and analysing the changes in peoples’ lives allows us to identify social inequality and complexity within generations as well as societal changes over different generations.

Van Gaalen primarily uses register data retrieved from the System of Social Statistical Datasets (SSD), hosted by CBS, to analyse the dynamics of peoples’ lives. The SSD is an integrated, longitudinal database of numerous registers and surveys, containing the most important socioeconomic and sociodemographic variables – checked on consistency – of the complete population of the Netherlands. The SSD contains more and more information on individuals over a growing time period.

After completing his studies in sociology at the University of Bremen (2002), Van Gaalen (1969) worked at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, where he wrote his doctoral thesis titled Solidarity and Ambivalence in Parent-Child Relationships. He was awarded his doctorate from the University of Utrecht (Sociology/ICS) in 2007. Van Gaalen has worked at CBS since 2006, and has been a programme coordinator for demographic and socio-economic research since 2014.

Van Gaalen has published articles in journals such as the Journal of Marriage and Family, European Journal of Ageing and Journal of Family Issues. He has also worked on various CBS publications, including Dynamiek op de Nederlandse arbeidsmarkt (Dutch Labour Market Dynamics) and Kwaliteit van leven in Nederland (Quality of Life in the Netherlands). Van Gaalen is also on the editorial board of Bevolkingstrends (Population Trends), an online journal.