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IUSSP Laureate 2005. Sidney Goldstein

Speech by Jacques Vallin at the Laureate Ceremony, Population Association of America Meeting, Philadelphia PA, USA, March 30th, 2005.


Sidney GoldsteinDear Professor Goldstein, On behalf of the council of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, I have the great honor and the great pleasure to present to you the IUSSP laureate award for the year 2005. 
I do not know how great the event is for you, but probably you do not know how sad it is for me. Indeed, having to give this IUSSP award once a year to a brilliant colleague, is one of the most agreeable parts of the role of President of the IUSSP and, alas! you are my last opportunity to enjoy the delicious time of giving some warm words towards one of the best demographers around the world. Last but not least, fortunately! 

In fact, there is another way to consider the event. I will probably be the most lucky IUSSP president, since in spite of the theoretical limits of a four-year mandate, you are the eighth laureate to whom I present the IUSSP prize! For that, I thank my predecessor, José Alberto Magno de Carvalho, very much, who asked me to do it, on his behalf, for Sam Preston, eight years ago, and then for Paulina Makinwa, Norman Ryder, and Dirk van de Kaa, before playing my own role for Ronald Freedman, Paul Demeny, Henri Leridon, and now You.


Furthermore, if you think that the IUSSP prize is an old institution and that the list of past laureates is now a long one (and you could think so, since that institution has now become very popular among the membership), you would probably be surprised to know that, including you, I will have delivered more award speeches than I have missed, as prior to the eight I have done, there have only been 7 ceremonies, starting with Louis Henry, in 1991, followed by Nora Federici, Anthony Wrigley, Nafis Sadik, Jorge Somoza, William Borrie, and Nathan Keyfitz. In fact, even if it is my last one, I am very happy! And, dear Sid, I am very happy to have you to close my own series.


Jacques Vallin

Unfortunately, you are so popular that many of your fans also want to say some words and I have to be short, which is very difficult, with regards to your so long and rich career.


Born in 1927 in the United States, you get your MA 24 years later at theUniversity of Connecticut, and, in 1954, you got your PhD at theUniversity of Pennsylvania. After two years as an instructor at Penn, you moved to Brown University to serve there as assistant professor, and then, soon after, as associate professor, and then full professor, and, finally, Professor emeritus since 1994.


That first glance at your CV stunned me : how is it possible that the most internationally recognized scholar of urbanization and population mobility could be one of the least mobile American social scientists, spending all his long carreer in Providence?


But it is not at all the case. Yes, any demographer around the world knows Brown University as a temple of migration studies, because of your long attachment to that university, but you also know about everything that matters in the field of migration all around the world. Not only were you interested in comparative studies and devoted a lot of your time to the analysis of specific country situations, comparing them to each other, but you also visited many of these countries. Especially, at least three times, you took the opportunity of sabbatical leaves to immerse yourself into other universes, quite different from those of the East Coast or even the whole United States. Each time, you used theHonolulu East-West Center as a bridge head before undertaking very active scientific tours, first in Australia and New Zealand in the seventies, then in South-East and Eastern Asia in the eighties, and, finally, in the Mediterranean world (From Bellagio to Jerusalem) in the nineties.


Actually, far from being a specialist of migration studies, I’ll pick up a lot of the following from the beautiful letter of nomination we received for you from Frances Goldscheider.


There were three main reasons why you were selected by the Council of the Union for the 2005 IUSSP award. The first one is obviously your tremendous role in the development of urban and migration studies.


In the 1950’s beginning with your dissertation research, you pioneered work in the use of administrative and other records to complement officially collected data (censuses and vital statistics). By using city directories in conjunction with survey data and vital records you identified the importance of repeat migration in high mobility rates. That work on a United States population was extended to Denmark, where the registration system enabled you to corroborate your earlier findings. You documented the assumption that large in- and out- migration streams lay behind the much smaller level of net migration, and that repeat migration accounted for a substantial proportion of all mobility. Moreover, gross migration flows played a critical role in changing the socio-demographic characteristics of locations.


From the mid-1960’s, you increasingly turned your attention to the situation in developing countries, focusing on population redistribution and urbanization, then a highly innovative approach to population problems and policy. In Thailand, where you served as the Population Council’s Demographic Advisor to the newly developed Institute of Population Studies at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, you guided a national longitudinal study of population growth. One of its key components was attention to migration.

from l. to r. Alice Goldstein, Mary Kritz, Hania Zlotnik, Sidney Goldstein, Jacques Vallin

Your research in Thailand resulted in a series of studies that explored the interrelations between migration and a lot of social and demographic characteristics, and the impact of migration on urban growth. Using data that spanned twenty-five years, you were able to demonstrate that as urbanization proceeded, temporary migration replaced more permanent mobility as a major component of economic adjustment. Your attention to the effect of migration on fertility tested both the disruption and adjustment hypotheses. You also explored the complexity of the migration process, demonstrating the oversimplification of the migrant/non-migrant and urban/rural dichotomies.


As a result of your work in Thailand, you became firmly convinced of the importance of considering all forms of movement when studying migration, from permanent resettlement to temporary short-term mobility, and to commuting. It was followed up two years later by a more specific investigation of temporary mobility, Circulation in the Context of Total Mobility in Southeast Asia. During this period, you also played a key role in developing a comprehensive methodology for studying migration using sample surveys. The United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) developed a sampling strategy, questionnaire, and analysis protocol for undertaking migration surveys. As a consultant to ESCAP, you were closely involved in this project; the ensuing manuals serve as the model for migration surveys internationally.


With the opening of the People’s Republic of China to western social science researchers, you were drawn to the challenge of undertaking migration research in a nation with an official policy strictly controlling population mobility and almost no available statistics on migration. Furthermore, because China was poised on the edge of modernization, the dynamic context within which population mobility could occur provided a unique opportunity to study internal migration at a critical point in national development. You convinced key Chinese researchers and policy makers of the importance of internal migration in China and were instrumental in helping to develop a number of migration surveys. Using data from those surveys as well as census materials you provided the definitive analysis of urbanization and migration in China in the 1980’s. Particularly noteworthy are Urbanization in China: new insights from the 1982 census and Population mobility in the People’s Republic of China.


Your insistence on studying all forms of mobility has been especially pertinent in the Chinese context; such works as Permanent and temporary migration differentials in China and Rural industrialization and migration in the People’s Republic of China have clearly documented the very important role of temporary movement as a response to both government policies and economic change.


Paralleling your work in Asia, since the 1960’s you have also brought your expertise to bear on the analysis of the demography of American Jewry. As one of the few demographers to be involved in such research, you have since become internationally recognized for this work. While exploring all the demographic processes as they pertain to a small religious and ethnic population, you have continued to focus on migration as a key variable in explaining the levels of cohesion or assimilation of that group. Your decennial review articles on the demography of American Jews represent benchmark statements in the field.

Sidney Goldstein with Jacques Vallin

Dear Sidney, time being short, I will be much shorter about the two other reasons of our choice, even if they are not less important.


In addition to producing an opus of sound and innovative research, you have also been an inspiring teacher and administrator. Under your guidance, the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University grew into one of the outstanding population centers in the United States. Since its inception, it has emphasized interdisciplinary approaches to demographic research, and it has gained special recognition for its leadership in the study of urbanization and migration. You have served as mentor to well over 100 doctoral students from around the world. They currently hold key positions in governmental and international agencies, universities, and research institutes. I am very sure that the principles of intellectual integrity that you have personified have guided their professional activities.


And here is the third point that, for the IUSSP, has a specific interest: you played a determinant role in the development of IUSSP’s scientific activities. At a crucial point of your successful story you actually reshaped the research direction of the IUSSP as chair of the first Committee on Urbanization and Population Redistribution. Under your leadership, a massive project emerged in the 1970s. It was truly an international demographic effort, solidly exemplary of the best of the IUSSP. You brought in and coordinated scholars from all continents, including the important participation of a group of Soviet scholars, as well as a solid group of African demographers. You published not less than four volumes (co-edited with David Sly) under the aegis of the IUSSP. Two volumes were methodological, and have set the standard for defining the data that are needed as well as the measurements and projections that are critical for understanding urbanization trends in different parts of the world. These were followed by a two-volume set of comparative country studies. The detailed studies provided the concrete illustrations for your Presidential address to the Population Association of America in 1976, which was a ringing endorsement of the need to broaden attention to migration in all its aspects. The paper has served as a guide to researchers ever since. And I must tell you that nobody has ever published more IUSSP books. Only Basia Zaba also published 4 IUSSP books…. on migration in the eighties and nineties, which is concrete proof that you sowed the right seeds in the right field in the right time.


Finally, before coming to a conclusion, with your permission, Sid, I would like to also address a thought to Alice who is with you tonight, as she has been for long. It is remarkable to note how many times her name is associated to yours in publications you co-authored. As we can think of Pierre and Marie Curie in physics, or, closer to us, of Jack and Pat Caldwell in anthropological demography, for migration studies, we certainly can think of Sid and Alice Goldstein… And I would like to tell Alice that as the Union honors Sid to-day, it also honors her.


Dear Sid, based on your prominent role in the development of migration studies and more generally in population sciences, you have already received many honors and distinctions. You received awards and medals from different universities within and outside the United States, including from Thailand and from China. You have also received several distinctions from national and international Jewish institutions for your valuable contribution to the knowledge of Jewish population. By presenting you to-night the 2005 IUSSP award, I am just adding one to the others, but I hope than you will enjoy becoming our 15th laureate.