Former IUSSP President Peter McDonald receives Irene B. Taeuber Award 


At the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America (PAA) in San Diego, on 30 April 2015, former IUSSP President (2010-2013) Peter McDonald received the 2015 Irene B. Taeuber Award. He shared this honour with Sara McLanahan, who was also given the award. This biennal Award is sponsored by the Population Association of America (PAA) and the Office of Population Research, Princeton University, and granted in recognition of either an unusually original or important contribution to the scientific study of population or an accumulated record of exceptionally sound and innovative research.



The Award citation reads (in part) (citation)


“Peter McDonald’s work is notable for its application of empirical approaches to significant policy issues. The work is often multidisciplinary, applying theoretical perspectives from sociology, economics, history, psychology and anthropology. However, he is most well-known for the development of new theory relating to population issues and for the design of original data collections that address theory and policy.” 

His major contributions to demographic research have assisted the development of the discipline of population studies and demography not only in Australia but also in Asia. This research includes diverse demographic outcomes including nuptiality, fertility, household structure, child survival, labour force, and demographic estimation. 

His most well-known impact has been in the development of gender equity theory applied to fertility; his theory of the link between gender equity and fertility in advanced societies has had a major influence on research in demography and in sociology, through to economics. 

“Women have achieved high levels of gender-equity in individually-oriented institutions such as education and employment, but equity in family-related institutions such as the family itself and the conditions of work lags behind,” he said. 

“Where the level of incoherence between equity in individual and family institutions is high, some women opt to have no children or only one child, placing the societal level of fertility at a precariously low level. 

“The policy implication is that societies must hasten the speed of change in gender equity in family-oriented institutions, especially through policy measures that support the capacity to combine work with parenting.” 


Irene Taeuber, in whose honour the award is named, was well-known for her important international population studies, particularly her demographic work in East and South-east Asia.  She was Vice President of the IUSSP from 1961 to 1964.


A list of past winners of the Irene B. Taeuber Award can be found on the PAA website.