According to the classic and widely accepted statement by Hauser and Duncan (1959: 2), demography is defined as “the study of the size, territorial distribution, and components of population, changes therein, and components of such changes.” Almost all disciplines of social sciences and most disciplines of natural sciences deal with human beings in one way or another, either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, demographic concepts (e.g., birth rate, death rate, and migration) and methods and analysis strategies (e.g., life table analysis) can be readily extended to other species (insects, animals, plants, etc.) and inanimate collectives (enterprises, automobiles, etc.). Clearly, demography is an important thematic field in science and it may provide the empirical foundation for studying human beings, animals, and inanimate collectives on which other relevant scientific research is built.
The volume aims to be of value to the various audiences of both non-specialists and experts who seek a comprehensive understanding of issues related to human population. As reviewed in the very beginning of the Theme Introduction, “interdisciplinary” is one of the three major features of demography. Given the rapid development in techniques for collecting not only demographic data but also other related data concerning health, biomarkers, genetics, behaviors, and social and natural environments in conventional population surveys, as well as rapidly enhancing computing powers, this volume shows and concludes that demography will be even more interdisciplinary in the coming decades. A notable example is that the cross-field “marriage” between bio-medical sciences and demography will lead us to enter an era in which bio-medical and demographic methods will be well integrated. As indicated by James R. Carey and James W. Vaupel in Chapter 13 of this volume, the bio-demographic branches of demography are vibrant areas of demographic research that are rapidly growing and that have great potential to enrich and enlarge the domain of demography. Not only can demographers learn much from biologists and epidemiologists, but demographers can contribute much to research on life in general and to research on population health. The increasing availability of data sources and much enhanced computing/internet power will also lead demography to be more interactive with the other fields, such as psychology, environmental science, economics, business and management, etc. As discussed in this volume’s Chapter 11 by Swanson and Pol, for example, it is now possible to link conventional demographic data sources of census, surveys, and vital statistics with administrative records such as social security, tax reporting, medical insurance, hospital records, school registration, supermarket purchasing cards use, etc., while protecting individuals’ privacy. Such linkages will substantially increase the value of demographic methods, surveys and administrative records for scientific research and policy analysis, as well as the applicability of demography in business and governmental decision making processes.
Zeng Yi is a Professor at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development and Geriatric Division / Department of Medicine of Medical School, and Institute of Population Research and Dept. of Sociology, Duke University. He is also a Professor at the China Center for Economic Research, National School of Development at Peking University in China, and Distinguished Research Scholar of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Germany. He received his doctoral degree from Brussels Free University in May 1986, and conducted post-doctoral study at Princeton University in 1986-87. Up to Feb. 2008, he has had 81 professional articles written in English published in academic journals or as book chapters in the United States and Europe; among them, 51 articles were published in anonymous, peer-reviewed academic journals. He has had 85 professional articles written in Chinese and published in China; among them, 55 articles were published in national top Chinese academic journals. He has published sixteen books, including five research books (as first author), such as “Family Dynamics in China,” published by the University of Wisconsin Press; one textbook on demographic methods (as the sole author); two volumes of demographic software and user’s manuals (as the first author) on family status life table analysis; six edited books (four as the chief editor, and two as the second editor), such as the 2005 and 2008 books published by Springer for which he served as the chief editor. Six of Zeng Yi’s published books were written in English, one was written in both Chinese and English, and the remainders were written in Chinese.
Zeng Yi has been awarded more than ten national and international academic prizes, such as the Dorothy Thomas Prize of the Population Association of America, the Harold D. Lasswell Prize in Policy Science awarded by the international journal Policy Sciences and Kluwer Academic Publishers, the second-class prize for advancement of science and technology awarded by the State Sciences and Technology Commission of China, the first-class prize for advancement of science and technology awarded by the State Education Commission, and the highest academic honor of Peking University: "Prize for Outstanding Contributions in Sciences."
According to the search report, up to March 1, 2008, the internationally most important literature sources SSCI (Social Science Citation Index) and SCI (Science Citation Index), published in the U.S., indicate that Zeng Yi’s articles and books have been cited in 755 journal articles by authors other than Zeng Yi. Among them, 440 citations refer to the work of Zeng Yi as the first author; 315 citations refer to the work of Zeng Yi as a co-author. Zeng Yi is one of the authors of “High Impact Papers” worldwide in the period of 1981 -1998, as announced by International Scientific Institute (ISI) in September, 2000