Dudley L. Poston, Jr.

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Dudley L. Poston, Jr. is an American academic whose areas of study include demographics, human ecology, and sociology.

Early and personal life[edit]

Dudley L. Poston, Jr. was born in San Francisco, California on 29 November 1940 to Dudley Louis Poston, Sr. and Kathryn (Kara) Poston. He and his sister, Kathleen Poston Wood, were born into a very large Irish Catholic Family who all lived within a few blocks of each other in San Francisco, CA. Poston married Patricia Mary Joyce Poston in San Francisco, California in 1963. The Postons have two children, Nancy Kathleen Poston Espey and Dudley L. Poston III, a son-in-law Richard Espey, and three grandchildren, David Espey, Kara Espey and Daniel Espey.

Poston served on active duty in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant and as a Captain from 1968 to 1970, including a tour of nearly one full year in 1969-70 in South Vietnam. Among his military honors and awards are the Bronze Star, and the Army Commendation Medal, with one Oak leaf cluster, both awarded in 1970, for his service in Vietnam.


Poston attended St. Gabriel's Grammar School in San Francisco. He attended St. Joseph's Seminary in Mountain View, CA, for his first few years of high school, and then transferred to St. Ignatius High School (in San Francisco) where he graduated in 1958. He attended the University of San Francisco graduating in 1963 with a B.A. degree in sociology. The intellectual rigor of being taught by Jesuits at St Ignatius and the University of San Francisco has had a profound effect on his education and love of learning.

He received his M.A. degree in sociology in 1967 from San Francisco State College and obtained his Ph.D. degree in sociology in 1968 from the University of Oregon; Eugene, Oregon. While at San Francisco State College, Poston took two sociology courses from Dr. David Dodge who encouraged Poston to pursue his doctoral degree at the University of Oregon. While at the University of Oregon, Poston took a demography course from Dr. Walter Martin, and this was a major influence on Poston’s decision to become a demographer.

In his first years as an assistant professor at the University of Texas in the early 1970s, Poston cites his senior colleague Dr. Harley Browning as a mentor and a tremendous help to his continued development as a researcher and working with Parker Frisbie as having broadened his demographic and ecological horizons immensely.


Poston’s research interests include demography, human ecology, and the sociology of gender, with special attention to the populations of China, Taiwan, and Korea. He is the only non-Chinese person to ever be elected to be President of the North American Chinese Sociologists Association, serving for 2 years, from 1995 to 1997. Further, Poston has made significant contributions to the emerging field of the Social Demography of Sexual Orientation. He also loves to mentor students and has a lengthy and noteworthy list of previous students.

Poston served as faculty at the Population Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin' Associate Director (1970–74); Acting Director (1974–75); Research Associate (1975–77); Associate Director (1977–81); Director (1981–1986); and Research Associate (1987–1988). He served at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (1988–1992) as Professor of Rural Sociology and Asian Studies; Research Associate, Population and Development Program, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (1988–1992); and Chair, Department of Rural Sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (1989–1992). He next served as Professor, Department of Sociology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (1992–present); Samuel Rhea Gammon Professor of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University (1992–1998);George T. and Gladys H. Abell Professor of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University (1998–present);Head, Department of Sociology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (1992–1997); and Director, Asian Studies Program, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (2007–2012).

While at Texas A&M Poston also serves as Guest Professor of Demography at the People's University in Beijing, China; Guest Professor of Cultural Studies and Sociology at Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, China; and Adjunct Professor of Demography, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China. In 1987 he was Visiting Research Professor of Sociology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.

"Dudley Poston is one of the country's premier and pioneering social demographers. For example, in recent decades he early pioneered in research work on the demography of China. Poston has done much research and teaching that has helped China to develop a professional core of demographic teaching/research and that has also assisted US social scientists and policymakers in accurately understanding the demographic realities of China and the global impacts of shifts in Chinese population and economic patterns, past and present." Joe Feagin, Ella McFadden Professor of Sociology, Texas A&M University.


Poston has authored/co-authored/edited sixteen books and over 300 refereed journal articles, chapters and reports on various sociological and demographic topics.[citation needed] He is currently working on a second edition of Population and Society: An Introduction to Demography. He is also the series editor of the International Handbooks of Population, published by Springer Press.

  • Census 80: Continuing the Factfinder Tradition (1980) U.S. Gov.Printing Office, Stock No. 003-024-0226-1The Population of the South (1981)
  • Essays in Population Economics (1991)
  • The Population of Modern China (with David Yaukey) (1992) ISBN 978-0-306-44235-3[1]
  • Thirty Million Texans? (1993) ISBN 1881290204
  • Zhongguo Dusheng Zinu Yanjiu (Research on Single Children in China) (1996)
  • Continuities in Sociological Human Ecology (1998) ISBN 978-0-306-45610-7
  • The Chinese Triangle of Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (2001) ISBN 978-0313308697
  • The Handbook of Population (co-edited with Michael Micklin), (2005) ISBN 978-0-306-47768-3[2][3]
  • Fertility, Family Planning and Population Policy in China (co-edited) (2006) ISBN 978-0415323307[4][5]
  • Healthy Longevity in China: Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Psychological Dimensions (2008) ISBN 978-1-4020-6751-8
  • Gender Policy and HIV in China: Catalyzing Policy Change (2009) ISBN 978-9048182190
  • Same-Sex Partners: The Demography of Sexual Orientation, with Amanda Baumle and D’Lane Compton (2009) ISBN 978-0-7914-7609-3
  • Population and Society: An Introduction to Demography (2010)ISBN 978-0521872874

Selected honors and awards[edit]

  • American Sociological Association Population Section: Member of Council (1980–82); Chair and Chair-Elect (1982–84); Member, Nominations Committee (1994–96); Member, Committee on Certification and Licensure (1996–99)
  • American Statistical Association: Member, Committee on Public Affairs, American Statistical Association (2001–2008)
  • International Sociological Association: Research Committee 41 (Sociology of Population): President (1995–1999); Member of Executive Committee (1999–2008).
  • North American Chinese Sociologists Association: President, 1995–1997; Past-President and Member of Council, 1997–2003
  • Population Association of America: Board of Directors (1980–81); Member of Nominations Committee (1982¬-83).
  • Rural Sociological Society: Publications Committee Member (1990–93) and Chair (1993–94); Chair, Subcommittee on Mentoring and Climate (1995–1997)Member, Diversity Committee (1995–1999)
  • Southwestern Social Science Association: Member of Executive Committee (1977–79); Second Vice-¬President (1981–82); First Vice-President (1982–83);President (1983–84); Vice-President (2002–2003); President-Elect (2003–2004); President (2004–2005).
  • Southern Demographic Association: Member of Executive Committee (1974–75); President (1975–77); Member, Consulting Board, Center for Immigration Research, University of Houston (1996–2006) .
  • Witness, Hearings before the Select Committee on Population, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress (1979)
  • Member, U.S. Census Bureau Scientific Advisory Committee, 2005–2011

Additional awards[edit]

  • Recipient, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, University of Oregon, 1991
  • Recipient, Research Excellence Award of the Rural Sociological Society, 1994
  • Recipient, Distinguished Achievement in Research Award, Texas A&M University, Spring, 1998
  • Recipient, Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University, Fall, 2000
  • Recipient, Distinguished Achievement in Graduate Mentoring, Texas A&M University, Spring, 2009
  • Recipient, Distinguished Service Award in Honor of Norma Williams, Southwestern Sociological Association, March, 2010
  • Recipient, Social Scientist of the Year Award, Southwestern Social Science Association, March, 2011 (this is the highest award given by the SSSA).


  1. ^ John S. Aird (1993). Review of Dudley L. Poston, and David Yaukey 'The Population of Modern China' The China Quarterly, 136, pp 997-999 doi:10.1017/S0305741000032525
  2. ^ Joshua R. Goldstein, "Book Review Dudley L. Poston and Michael Micklin (eds.), Handbook of Population Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 2005, XIII + 918 pp ", European Journal of Population/Revue européenne de Démographie Volume 23, Number 2 (2007), 213-214
  3. ^ McNicoll, Geoffrey, "Dudley L. Poston and Michael Micklin (eds.): Handbook of Population.(Book review)", Population and Development Review | September 1, 2006
  4. ^ Huang, Yu-Lin, "Book Review: Dudley L. POSTON, Jr., Che-Fu LEE, Chiung-Fang CHANG, Sherry L. McKIBBEN, and Carol S. WALTHER, eds, Fertility, Family Planning, and Population Policy in China", China Information , Volume 21 (3): 530, SAGE, Nov 1, 2007
  5. ^ Greenhalgh, Susan, "Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Che-Fu Lee, Chiung-Fang Chang, Sherry L. Mckibben, and Carol S. Walther (Eds). Fertility, Family Planning, and Population Policy in China.(Book review)", Population and Development Review, June 1, 2006