Dr. Jorge Chapa was one of the preeminent Latino demographers in the United States. He died on October 19, 2015. His scholarship covered a wide range of issues relating to Latinos in the U.S., including health disparities, border colonias, poverty, immigration, education gaps, redistricting, geographic information systems, census data, disenfranchisement of legal residents, labor force participation, and voter rights. He co-wrote the ground breaking book, The Burden of Support, the first book to examine the potential growth and issues related to Latinos in the U.S. He also coauthored Apple Pie and Enchiladas: Latino Newcomers to the Rural Midwest. It has become the standard treatment of one of the important political and demographic changes in the Midwest in the past generation.
Dr. Chapa mentored many young faculty members and students throughout his 27 year career, during which he served at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, founded the Latina/o Studies department at Indiana University, served as Interim Director of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University, and served as faculty member for Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program. At the time of his death he was a full professor in the Latina/o Studies department and a scholar in the Institute of Government & Public Affairs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
A scholarship for Latina/o Studies majors or minors has been established in his memory. Donations can be mailed to the University of Illinois Foundation—Jorge Chapa Memorial Fund, 1305 W. Green Street, MC-386, Urbana, IL, 61820 or accessed online:; for Campus Priority select “Other,” for fund enter “Jorge Chapa Memorial Fund in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.”