John Hajnal

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John Hajnal
Born(1924-11-26)26 November 1924
Died30 November 2008(2008-11-30) (aged 84)
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
Scientific career
InstitutionsLondon School of Economics

John Hajnal[needs IPA] FBA (born Hajnal-Kónyi, [ˈhɒjnɒl ˈkoːɲi]; 26 November 1924 – 30 November 2008), was a Hungarian-British academic in the fields of mathematics and economics (statistics).

Hajnal is best known for identifying, in a landmark 1965 paper,[1] the historical pattern of marriage of northwest Europe in which people married late and many adults remained single. The geographical boundary of this unusual marriage pattern is now known as the Hajnal line.


Hajnal was born in Darmstadt, at the time the capital of the People's State of Hesse in Weimar Germany, to a Hungarian Jewish family. In 1936 his parents left Nazi Germany, and placed him in a Quaker school in the Dutch countryside while they arranged to settle in Britain. In 1937, John was reunited with his parents in London, where he attended University College School, Hampstead.

At age 16, he entered Balliol College, Oxford. He gained a first there in economics, philosophy and politics in 1943. His skills in academic-level mathematics were mostly autodidactical.

After the war, Hajnal worked on demography for the United Nations in New York, and later for the Office of Population Research, Princeton University.

He met Berlin-born Nina Lande in New York. They were married from 1950 until her death in 2008 and had three daughters and a son.

Returning to the United Kingdom, he worked at Manchester University as a statistician from 1953. The family moved to London in 1956, when John was assured a lectureship at the London School of Economics. He was Professor of Statistics at the London School of Economics from 1975 until his retirement in 1986.


He was a member of the International Statistical Institute and was elected FBA in 1966.


  1. ^ Glass; Eversley, eds. (1965). "European Marriage Patterns in Perspective". Population in History, Essays in Historical Demography. London: Edward Arnold.