The PSTC was established by a small core of Sociology faculty in 1965. Founder and distinguished professor Sidney Goldstein served as director until 1989 and was instrumental in the Center's evolution to an internationally respected center for demographic research and training.
The founding of the PSTC coincided with growing interest in population studies. The original core of Sociology faculty members was soon joined by scholars from Anthropology, Economics, and the health research community.
Research in the early years was focused on social demographic topics like population distribution, family and households, and development. Today’s associates continue the Center’s legacy of excellence in research and training and emphasize the collection of original, international data within the local cultural context. New and innovative research topics have developed, such as the application of spatial research to population studies.
The Center received its first National Institute of Health (NIH) infrastructure support in 1991, with continued support to this day. In 2004, the PSTC moved from its original cluster of rooms in Maxcy Hall to its own building—the historic four-floor Mencoff Hall.