Yao Lu

Yao Lu

Biographical Notes

I am Associate 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), Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), and Data Science Institute (DSI) at Columbia University.

My research focuses on social stratification and inequality, with a primary emphasis on (1) how migration intersects with sociopolitical processes to shape inequalities in receiving and origin societies, and (2) how social and demographic processes influence political development. Within these general areas, I have engaged a range of research fields in labor market inequality, collective action, health, families and child development, and gender. I have pursued this research agenda from a comparative perspective, using data from multiple settings and directly comparing different contexts. 

My research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (including a K01 Career Development Award), the Russell Sage Foundation, and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. I have also collaborated with a team of international scholars to conduct a national survey on migration and families and children in China. 


PUBLICATIONS (peer-reviewed; * denotes current or former student co-author)


In press     Lu, Yao. “Empowerment or Disintegration? Migration, Social Institutions, and Collective Action in Rural China.” American Journal of Sociology.


Faculty Article Award, Honorable Mention, Section on Sociology of Development, American Sociological Association


In press     Lu, Yao, Jean Wei-Jun Yeung, Jingming Liu, and Donald J. Treiman. "Health of Left-behind Children in China: Evidence from Mediation Analysis." Chinese Journal of Sociology.


In press     Lu, Yao, Qian He*, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. “Diverse Experience of Immigrant Children: How Do Separation and Reunification Shape Their Development?” Child Development.


2019        Lu, Yao, Jean Wei-Jun Yeung, Jingming Liu, and Donald J. Treiman. “Migration and Children's Psychosocial Development in China: When and Why Migration Matters.” Social Science Research 77:130-147.


2018        Qin, Lijian, Wei Wang*, and Yao Lu. “The Working and Living Conditions of College-educated Rural Migrants in China.” Asian Population Studies 14(2):172-193.


2017        Lu, Yao, and Ran Tao. “Organizational Structure and Collective Action: Lineage Networks, Semi-autonomous Civic Associations, and Collective Resistance in Rural China.” American Journal of Sociology 122(6): 1726-74.


Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Article Award, Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements, American Sociological Association


2017        Lu, Yao, Julia Wang*, and Wen-Jui Han. “Women’s Short-Term Employment Trajectories Following Birth: Patterns, Determinants, and Variations by Race/Ethnicity and Nativity.” Demography 54(1):93-118.


Finalist, Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research


2017        Lu, Yao, Wenjuan Zheng*, and Wei Wang*. “Migration and Popular Resistance in Rural China: Wukan and Beyond.” The China Quarterly 229:1-22.


2017        Lu, Yao, Nicole Denier*, Julia Shu-Huah Wang*, and Neeraj Kaushal. “Unhealthy Assimilation or Persistent Health Advantage? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Health in the United States.” Social Science & Medicine 195:105-114.


2017         Lu, Yao, Neeraj Kaushal, Nicole Denier*, and Julia Shu-Huah Wang*. “Health of Newly Arrived Immigrants in Canada and the United States: Differential Selection on Health.” Health & Place 48:1-10.


2016         Kaushal, Neeraj, Yao Lu, Nicole Denier*, Julia Shu-Huah Wang*, and Stephen Trejo. “Immigrant Employment and Earnings Growth in Canada and the U.S.: Evidence from Longitudinal Data.” Journal of Population Economics 29:1249-1277.


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         Lu, Yao. “Internal Migration, International Migration, and Physical Growth of Left-Behind Children: A Study of Two Settings.” Health & Place 36:118-126.


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 Achievement and Loneliness 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 Sibship 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.


INVITED Book chapters


2018        Lu, Yao. “Parental Migration and the Well-being of Children Left Behind from A Comparative Perspective.” Chapter 5 in Parenting from Afar: The Reconfiguration of the Family Across Distance, edited by Maria Guzman, Jill Brown, and Carolyn Edwards. Oxford University Press.


2016        Lu, Yao and Alice Tianbo Zhang*. “The Link between Migration and Health.” Chapter 2 in Handbook of Migration and Health. Eldward Elgar.


2012        Treiman, Donald J., Yao Lu, and Yaqiang Qi. “New Approaches to Demographic Data Collection”. Pp. 398-454 (Chapter 13) in Demography, edited by Zai Liang. Beijing: People’s University Press. [in Chinese]


2009        Shen, Anan, Wang Feng, and Yao Lu. “Earnings and Expenditures among Migrants and Urbanites in Shanghai.” Pp.60-90 in Migration and the Remaking of Shanghai, edited by Danching Ruan. Beijing: Xuelin Publication House. [in Chinese]

Selected Publications

International Migration

“Household Migration, Remittances, and Their Impact on Health in Indonesia”

Yao Lu
Chinese Sociological Review

"New Approaches to Demographic Data Collection"

Yao Lu
Donald J. Treiman
Journal of Marriage and Family

"Education of Children Left Behind in Rural China"

Yao Lu