Yao Lu

Yao Lu

Assistant Professor
Office Hours: 
By appointment
Areas of Interest: 
Social Stratification, Migration and Immigration, Development, Health, Families and Children, Collective Action, Chinese Society
Biographical Note: 

I am Assistant Professor of Sociology, and faculty affiliate of the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC), Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI), Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), and Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Columbia University.

My research focuses on social stratification and inequality by primarily examining (1) the social and political development in contemporary China, and (2) how migration intersects with micro- and macro-level social and political processes to shape inequalities in destination and origin societies. Within these general areas, my work connects to a range of research areas in labor markets, health, families and children, gender, social capital, and collective action. It seeks to demonstrate how studies of social change in China and of migration can inform the general sociological theories in these areas that are largely drawn from Western societies and from the experiences of dominant population groups.

I have pursued this research agenda from an international and comparative perspective, with a special focus on the Chinese society. I have collaborated with a team of international scholars to develop and conduct a national survey on the effect of migration on children in China. My research has been funded by several grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (including a K01 Career Development Award), the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation.

My current projects include:

Organizational Basis of Collective Action in China

Political Consequences of Migration in Origin Communities

Migration and Child Development: Effects and Mechanisms

Immigrant Selection and Labor Market Trajectories in Canada and the United States

Work-Family Trajectories by Race/Ethnicity and Nativity


Publications (peer-reviewed)

2015       Lu, Yao, and Ran Tao. "Female Migration, Cultural Context, and Son Preference in Rural China." Population Research and Policy Review 34(5):665-686.

2015        Kaushal, Neeraj, and Yao Lu. “Recent Immigration to Canada and the United States: A Mixed Tale of Relative Selection.” International Migration Review 49(2):279-522. [Equal authorship]

2014        Lu, Yao. “Parental Migration and Education of Left-behind Children: A Comparison of Two Settings.” Journal of Marriage and Family 76:1082-1098.

2014        Lu, Yao, and Lijian Qin. “Healthy Migrant and Salmon Bias Hypotheses: A Study of Health and Internal Migration in China.” Social Science and Medicine 102:41-48.

2013        Lu, Yao, Zai Liang, and Miao Chunyu. “Emigration from China in Comparative Perspective.” Social Forces 92(2):631-658.

2013        Lu, Yao, Danching Ruan, and Gina Lai. “Social Capital and Economic Integration of Migrants in Urban China.” Social Networks 35(3):357-369.

2013        Lu, Yao, and Feng Wang. “From General Discrimination to Segmented Inequality: Migration and Inequality in Urban China.” Social Science Research 42(6):1443-1456.

2013        Lu, Yao, and Hao Zhou. “Academic and Psychological Well-being of Migrant Children in China: School Segregation and Segmented Assimilation.” Comparative Education Review 57(1):85-166.

2013        Lu, Yao. “Household Migration, Remittances, and Their Impact on Health in Indonesia.” International Migration 51: 202-215. 

2012        Treiman, Donald J., Yao Lu, and Yaqiang Qi. “New Approaches to Demographic Data Collection.”  Chinese Sociological Review 44(3):56-92.

2012        Lu, Yao. “Education of Children Left Behind in Rural China.” Journal of Marriage and Family 74(2):328-341.

2012        Lu, Yao, Peifeng Hu, and Donald J. Treiman. “Migration and Depressive Symptoms in Migrant-Sending Areas: Findings from The Survey of Internal Migration and Health in China.” International Journal of Public Health 57(4):691-698.

2012        Lu, Yao. “Household Migration, Social Support, and Psychosocial Health: The Perspective from Migrant-Sending Areas.” Social Science and Medicine 74:135-142.

2011        Lu, Yao and Donald J. Treiman. “Migration, Remittances, and Educational Stratification among Blacks in Apartheid and Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Social Forces 89(4):1119-1144.

2010        Lu, Yao. “Mental Health and Risk Behaviors of Rural-Urban Migrants: Longitudinal Evidence from Indonesia.” Population Studies 64(2):147-163.

2010        Lu, Yao. “Rural-urban Migration and Health: Evidence from Longitudinal Data in Indonesia.” Social Science and Medicine 70(3): 412-419.

2009        McCarthy, William, Ritesh Mistry, Yao Lu, Minal Patel, and Hong Zheng, and Barbara Dietsch. “Could Density of Geocoded Tobacco Retailers near Schools Influence Risk of Students Smoking?” American Journal of Public Health 99(11):2006-2013.

2009        Lu, Yao. “Sibship Size, Family Organization, and Education in South Africa: Black-White Variations.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 27(2):110-125.

2009        Mistry, Ritesh, William McCarthy, Antronette Yancey, Yao Lu, and Minal Patel. “Resilience and Patterns of Health Risk Behaviors in California Adolescents.” Preventive Medicine 48(3):291-297.

2008        Lu, Yao and Donald J. Treiman. “The Effect of Family Size on Educational Attainment in China: Period Variations.” American Sociological Review 73(5):813-834.

2008        Li, Li, Zunyou Wu, Sheng Wu, Manhong Jia, Eli Lieber, and Yao Lu. “Impacts of HIV/AIDS Stigma on Family Identity and Interactions in China.”  Families, Systems and Health 26(4):431-442.

2008        Lu, Yao. “Test of the ‘Healthy Migrant Hypothesis’: A Longitudinal Analysis of Health Selectivity of Internal Migration in Indonesia.” Social Science and Medicine 67(8):1331-1339.

2007        Lu, Yao. “Educational Status of Temporary Migrant Children in China: Determinants and Regional Variations.” Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 16(1):29-55.

2006        Grusky, Oscar, Hongjie Liu, Xiaojing Li, Aimee-Noelle Swanson, Naihua Duan, Yibin Zhu, Erjian Ma, and Yao Lu. “Is Voluntary Counseling and Testing of Drug Users in China Feasible?” International Journal of STD and AIDS 17(5):354-355.

2006        Treiman, Donald J., William M. Mason, Yao Lu, Yi Pan, Yaqiang Qi, and Shige Song. “Observations on the Design and Implementation of Sample Surveys in China.”  Social Transformations in Chinese Societies 1(1):81-101.



V3212            Statistics for Social Research

V3243            China Today: Change, Inequalities, and Social Life

G4074            Introductory Social Data Analysis I

G4075            Introductory Social Data Analysis II

G4270            Social Demography