Annual Awards

The Robert J. Lapham Award

The Robert J. Lapham Award recognizes a person who contributed to the population profession through the application of demographic knowledge to policy issues. The recipient does not have to be a member of the Association. The award consists of a plaque and a cash prize.

Robert J. Lapham contributed to the population profession in numerous ways. His original research and his direction of the Demographic and Health Surveys Project advanced our knowledge of population processes. He helped formulate population policy through his work at the Population Council and with the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Population. He strengthened the profession through his service as Secretary-Treasurer of the PAA. In recognition of these contributions and as a way of promoting his professional interests, the Lapham family established the Robert J. Lapham Award to recognize others who have made similar contributions.

The award is given biennially to individuals who have distinguished themselves by their sustained achievements in the following areas: contributions to population research, applications of demographic knowledge to improve the human condition, and service to the population profession. 

Such contributions may be original research or efforts that increase our knowledge of population processes by enabling others to conduct research. Examples of the latter would be directing population surveys, creating a statistical system, or administering a program to facilitate demographic research. Applications of population knowledge to improve the human condition may be contributions to public policy, education, or program development. Service to the population profession may be building institutions within the profession, or service that advances the interests of the profession. In making their selection, the committee will weight impact as much as publications. We encourage nominations of both U.S. and international population experts. 

Submission Procedures:
Nominations for the 2021 award, including self-nominations, should include a concise summary of the nominee’s contributions and accomplishments (one page), a selected list of the important demographic positions the nominee has held, a list of his or her most significant publications or presentations (one page), and a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae. Nominees should exemplify the highest standards of professional conduct. Nominations should be submitted by e-mail to laphamaward@popassoc.org, no later than January 31, 2021.

The members of the committee are Cheikh Mbacke (Chair); Ann K. Blanc, Population Council; Jason Fields, U.S. Census Bureau; Sarah Hayford, The Ohio State UniversityMichael Rendall, University of Maryland-College ParkSarah Staveteig Ford, U.S. Department of State; and Kari White, University of Texas at Austin.

2019 Robert J. Lapham Award Winner

Sara McLanahan

Past Award Recipients

  • 2019: Sara McLanahan
  • 2017: Cheikh Mbacke
  • 2015: Wendy Baldwin
  • 2013: Paul R. Voss
  • 2011: Barbara Boyle Torrey
  • 2009: Christine A. Bachrach
  • 2007: Richard M. Suzman
  • 2005: Robert Michael
  • 2003: Frank Mott, Steven Ruggles
  • 2001: Reynolds Farley
  • 1999: Amy O. Tsui
  • 1997: John P. Bongaarts
  • 1995: Donald Bogue
  • 1993: Parker Mauldin
  • 1991: Conrad Taeuber
  • 1989: Albert Hermalin