Zeng Yi - 2021 IUSSP Laureate


The Council selected Zeng Yi to be the 2021 Laureate based on his outstanding contributions to advancing population science and service rendered to the IUSSP. Zeng Yi has contributed to population science via his seminal research on healthy ageing and family and households in China, through his contributions to institution building and training, and his service on the IUSSP Council and several IUSSP committees and scientific panels.


A virtual Laureate ceremony took place on Thursday 21 October. View the video recording of the ceremony.


In 1998, he and colleagues launched the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Study. It is the largest longitudinal study of the oldest-old with innovative features designed to disentangle the effects of socioeconomic and behaviour/lifestyle features and facilitate international comparability.  The study is ongoing and has resulted in numerous publications of academic and social significance in China and our understanding of healthy ageing in other countries.  


Zeng Yi’s research has also had important policy impacts in China, where his recommendations have influenced the Chinese government to change its one-child policy to a two-child policy and adopt other socioeconomic strategies to address the challenges of rapid population ageing.  


His work on modelling the demography of the family, begun as part of an IUSSP Scientific Committee on Family Demography and the Life Cycle, developed innovative ways to use demographic data to produce projections of family households. The ProFamy model, supported by user-friendly software developed by Zeng Yi and his team, is now used by countries around the world to project households and assess the consequences of changing household structures for housing, home-based energy use and other environmental impacts.  


Zeng Yi also contributed to institution building and training, directing the Institute of Population Research at Peking University, where he started an International MA degree program in demography that was revolutionary for China when it was launched in 1992, attracting both national and international students. More recently, he founded the Chinese Population and Socioeconomic Studies Center at Duke University.  


Zeng Yi served on two IUSSP Councils (2002-2009) and several IUSSP committees organizing several IUSSP scientific seminars. 


For more details on Zeng Yi’s career and contributions, you are invited to read the full nomination letter.


Nominations for the 2022 Laureate are open – the deadline to submit nominations is 1 November 2021.