Julie Zimmerman

Julie N. Zimmerman
Milton Coughenour Professor of Rural Sociology

Professional Profile

My research has both an academic and an applied focus.  My book, Opening Windows onto Hidden Lives: Women, Country Life, and Early Rural Sociological Research (with co-author Olaf Larson) explores the unexpected inclusion of rural and farm women in research conducted by the USDA’s Division of Farm Population and Rural Life (1919-1953).  Recent projects include the book chapter “I Could Tell Stories ‘til the Cows Come Home Individual Biography meets Collective Biography” (in Johannes Hans Bakker (ed.) Rural Sociologists at Work) and I am writing the history for the first Department of Rural Sociology in the nation.

I also conduct research with an applied emphasis.  Recent projects include Rural Data Inequality and the American Community Survey (w/ Dr. Tony Love in the Dept of Sociology) and the Rural Price Project Restudy which is a longitudinal analysis examining prices for items used in understanding geographic differences in the cost of living (w/ Dr. Karen Rignall in CLD).

For Cooperative Extension, I work as an Extension demographer in the area of applied population.  I developed and run the Extension program Kentucky: By The Numbers which focuses on publicly available secondary data used in local decision-making.  My program includes skill-based training, custom data analyses, direct assistance, resources for accessing and using online secondary data, and web access to resources and commonly used data.  As a result of my Extension program, I provide guest lectures for multiple courses in CLD and I work with the Building Strong Families Profiles for Family and Consumer Sciences Extension.

In addition to being a faculty member in CLD, I hold a joint appointment with the Department of Sociology and am a faculty member in the Sociology Graduate Program.

Contact me for assistance with:

  • Understanding rural/urban differences
  • Locating and using publically available secondary data
  • History of social sciences in colleges of agriculture and USDA

External Links

Kentucky: By The Numbers (Resources for Accessing Data in Real Time)

Historian, Rural Sociological Society Graduate Faculty, Department of Sociology

Building Strong Families Profiles

Listen to Dr. Zimmerman on NPR: “Women's Work Is Never Done On The Farm, And Sometimes Never Counted” here.

Read about some of Dr. Zimmerman’s applied work with Cooperative Extension here and here.


Ph.D. | Cornell University, Development Sociology, 1997

University Involvement

  • Faculty,  Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
  • Graduate Faculty, Department of Sociology
  • Building Strong Families, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky
  • Faculty Affiliate, Appalachian Studies Program, University of Kentucky

Areas of Interest

Social Sciences in Agriculture, Rural/Urban Differences, Rural Inequality, Locating and Using Secondary Data, History