Borrie Prize


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Entries to the 2021 W.D. Borrie Prize will open on 13 December 2021 and close on 17 March 2022.

The W.D. Borrie Prize is awarded to the best student paper on a population-related topic. Students of demography and population studies, enrolled in an Australian or New Zealand tertiary institution are eligible to enter across three prize categories:

a). Undergraduate

b). Honours / Masters / Graduate Diploma

c). PhD

Certificates and cash prizes are awarded to the winners in each category. Papers can be on any population-related topic of the student's choice. There is no set word limit. However, papers will usually be 2,000-8,000 words, about the same length as a journal article. Excessively long entries are discouraged.


For more information, download the Borrie Prize Rules and Entry Form:


To enter, send your paper with a completed entry form to:


Australian Population Association



Winners and runners-up of the 2020 W.D. Borrie Prize

Undergraduate category winner: Angela Rusanow from the ANU, College of Arts and Social Sciences for the paper Power the World; Empower Women.

Undergraduate category runner-up: Zack Cunich from the ANU, College of Arts and Social Sciences for the paper The Demography of International Students in Australia: Population Characteristics, Trends and Policy Implications.

Mortality and migration dominated this year's undergraduate submissions to the Borrie Prize and were often analysed through the lens of social and gender inequalities. The judges were impressed the the depth and breadth of the essays submitted.


Honours/Masters category winner: Christopher Hogan from the Flinders University, School of Science and Engineering for the paper Explaining Fertility Decline in Timor-Leste Between 2009-2016 Using Bongaarts' Proximate Determinants Model.

Honours/Masters category runner-up: Jolene Tan from the ANUCollege of Arts and Social Sciences for the paper Boom or Bane: Singapore's Approach Towards Reversing the Trend of Low Fertility Rates.

There were 6 entries for the Honours/Masters category. The judges were impressed by the high quality of all these papers, but unanimously agrees that the standout for originality and population implications was Explaining Fertility Decline in Timor-Leste Between 2009-2016 Using Bongaarts' Proximate Determinants Model. This paper uses individual-level Demographic and Health Survey data to investigage both the proximate (direct) and indirect determinants of fertility change in Timor-Leste. The Author does an excellent job of assessing data quality and limitations, explaining adjustments to Bongaarts' Model, and selecting and justifying appropriate indirect socio-economic determinants of reproductive decision-making. The paper's conclusion clearly sets out implications of the findings for continued fertility transition in Timor-Leste. The judges also highly commend he paper Boom or Bane: Singapore's Approach Towards Reversing the Trend of Low Fertility Rates' which is a thoughtful, beautifully written study of Singapore's recent pronatalist policies.


PhD category winner: Qing Guan from the ANUCollege of Arts and Social Sciences for the paper The Integration of Immigrants: Relating Spatial and Non-Spatial Aspects Using Australian Data.

There was only one entry for the PhD category for 2020, but the judges agreed that this paper was most deserving of the PhD Prize, being skilfully writeen and making a clear contribution to knowledge. This accomplised work quantitatively investigates the spatial and non-spatial aspects of integration of the four largest first-generation immigrant groups of Anglo and Asian backgrounds in Australia. The aims and relevance of the study within the broader theoretical context of spatial assimilation and segmented assimilation are clearly set out. The analysis and discussion demostrate a masterful understanding of the topic, with implications clearly explained. Writing and presentation are of a very high standard. The judges hope that APA members will continue to encourage their doctoral students to submit a paper for the Prize.


Congratulations to our winners and all entrants to the 2020 prize! A very special thank you also to our judges. The prize would not be possible without their incredible generosity of time and expertise.



The Australian Population Association Prize was instituted in 1984 for the ‘best undergraduate essay on a population-related topic’. The purpose of the Prize was to ‘encourage interest in population-related studies among undergraduates at Australian tertiary institutions and to inform them of the Association and its aims’. The first Prize was awarded in 1985 to Horst Posselt—later Director of Family and Community Statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics—for his paper on ‘Mortality and marital status’. In 1986 the winning paper was ‘Who were the female convicts?’, by Deborah Oxley, who went on to write Convict Maids: The Forced Migration of Women to Australia (Cambridge University Press, 1997). In 1987 the Prize was renamed for the patron of the Australian Population Association, Emeritus Professor Borrie. The postgraduate category was added in 1988, and entry was extended to New Zealand students in 2009. Since its inception, the Prize has been awarded to around 40 students, many of whom now have successful careers in population-related fields.


W.D. (MICK) BORRIE, 1913–2000

Always known as 'Mick', Wilfred David Borrie was Australia's first full-time academic researcher in population studies. He, and the team he built up at the Australian National University (ANU) from 1951 onwards, made Australia's name well known throughout the world for high-quality work on population trends and policies in Australia, the Pacific, Asia, Europe, North America and other parts of the world. Borrie himself wrote in most of these areas, including an important book in 1970 on The Growth and Control of World Population.

Born in New Zealand in 1913 and educated at Otago and Cambridge universities, Borrie came to Sydney in 1941. After teaching social history in Sydney University, he joined the very new ANU in 1948 as staff member in charge of population studies. He remained Professor of Demography until retirement in 1978, his being the first Chair of Demography anywhere in the world. Later, keen to extend population studies throughout Australia, he encouraged the formation of the Australian Population Association in 1980. He remained its patron until he died.

Mick Borrie's remarkable energy, together with his gift for choosing competent colleagues and assistants, led to a great output of publications. Either alone, or as principal author, he produced 15 books and 163 articles or reports. His last book was published in 1993 when he was more than 80.

Adapted from Price, C.A. 2000. ‘Obituary. Wilfred David (Mick) Borrie, CBE, 1913–2000’,Journal of Population Research, 17(1): v–vi.