Population Research Institute

Development and Evolution

The Research Office of Population Geography formed in 1957 is one of the 18 research offices approved by the Ministry of Education for the first time and the first population research institution set up in China after 1949, which was revoked in 1958 due to historical reasons. The teaching and research of population research was revived in 1976; the Research Office of Population Geography was reopened in 1981 and expanded into the Population Research Institute under the approval of the Ministry of Education in 1983. In 1985, it was listed as an institution of the program “Population research Teaching and Research in Chinese Universities” and received funding from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In 1986, it started to enroll students in postgraduate program in population research. In 2000, it launched a doctoral program in population research with the approval of the Ministry of Education, becoming the 4th population research institute offering doctoral programs.

The first director of the Institute was the eminent geographer and demographer Mr. Hu Huanyong, who laid a sound foundation for population research studies. Through the efforts of several generations, ECNU has accumulated systematic research achievements in the fields of population geography, sociology of population, economics of population and population planning and international migration. It leads China in the studies of population geography and ranks among the best in the fields of population aging and social security, and new immigrants and overseas Chinese policies.

Teaching and Admission

Currently, the Population Research Institute offers doctoral and postgraduate programs. There are 14 doctoral students and 26 postgraduate students studying in the Institute. It also offers demography courses to undergraduate students of the School of Social Development.


The Population Research Institute at ECNU has 12 full-time or part-time research fellows, including 4 professors, 7 associate professors and 1 lecturers. It is among the best population research institutes in China and internationally recognized. By 2010, the Institute had undertaken over 20 projects sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation and National Social Science Foundation, over 60 projects at ministerial, provincial or municipal level, over 30 projects sponsored by overseas colleges and universities or by the government sector, and over 200 bid projects or entrusted projects under the provincial and ministerial levels. It has published more than 20 academic works and more than 500 scholarly articles in Chinese and international journals, winning 20 provincial and ministerial awards.

Academic Advantages

Advantage 1: Studies of Population Geography. ECNU Population Research Institute is the first research institution in China to pay attention to population geography and it is a key field for our long-term development. Prof. Hu Huanyong was the founder of the discipline, followed by a batch of excellent research fellows including Prof. Zhang Shanyu, Prof. Zhu Baoshu, Prof. Ding Jinhong, Prof. Gao Xiangdong, associate Prof. Zeng Mingxing, associate Prof. Wang Chunlan and associate Prof. Yu Jia. They published various academic classics, such as Population Geography of China, World Population Geography and Spatial Process of Population, making the Institute a forefront of population geography studies with distinctive styles in the studies of population migration and urbanization, urban population capacity and distribution.

Advantage 2: Studies of Population Aging and Social Security. ECNU Population Research Institute is one of the first institutions in China engaged in research in sociology of population. It ranks among the best institutions in the studies of population aging and social security. Under the leadership of Prof. Gui Shixun, the founding father of the specialization, we have developed an academic team of young and middle-aged scholars including Prof. Wu Ruijun, Prof. Huang Chenxi, associate Prof. Li Qiang, associate Prof. Liu Dawei, and associate Prof. Qing Shisong. We have undertaken over 10 relative projects at national, provincial or ministerial level, published the book Sociology of Population, the first of its kind in China, and made innovative achievements in pension policy reform, social security for rural migrant workers, and social policy and social relief, showing extensive academic influence among our counterparts.

Advantage 3: Studies of New Immigrant and Overseas Chinese Policy. In 1998, the Population Research Institute, Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government,and Exit-Entry Administration Office of Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau jointly launched Shanghai International Migration and Development Research Center dedicated mainly to new migrants and overseas Chinese policies, led by Prof. Gui Shixun, Prof. Luo Keren and Prof. Wu Ruijun. The Institute has undertaken more than 20 public bid or entrusted projects of Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of The State Council, Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau, Shanghai Overseas Chinese Federation, Shanghai Center for Studies of Overseas Chinese Affairs, and has grown into the major research base for overseas Chinese affairs in Shanghai. It is awarded a first prize and a second prize of Provincial Outstanding Research Achievement Award and 7 Shanghai Outstanding Research Achievement Awards in United Front Work Theory, enjoying considerable influence in the theoretical and practical studies of overseas Chinese affairs in China.

Advantage 4: Studies and Practice of Government and Public Policy Consulting. Based in Shanghai and Yangtze River Delta and open to China, ECNU Population Research Institute has been committed to the mission of offering macro economic and social policy consulting services to national and local governments. Over the past years, the Institute has undertaken more than 100 policy consulting projects for national and local governments, providing a huge amount of data and policy proposals for Shanghai and even Chinese government sector. Our distinct advantages and features in this field are widely recognized, as many of our research fellows have been appointed as policy consulting expert for national and local governments, and many of our research achievements adopted by the government departments. We won a first prize, a second prize and 2 third prizes of Shanghai Government Policy Consulting Research Achievement Award, making positive contributions to national and local socio-economic development.