John May

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Titles and Organizations


Contact Information
Phone: 703-993-8605
Mason Square, Van Metre Hall, Room 648
3351 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
MSN: 3B1


John F. May, a U.S. and Belgian national, is a research professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He was trained as a demographer and is a specialist in population policies.

May has decades of international experience in demographic analysis, population projections, population policies, family planning and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS programs. He also has specific experience in the design, implementation, and evaluation of population and reproductive health strategies and operations, supported by strong analytical work.

From 2013 to 2017, May was Visiting Scholar at the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) in Washington, D.C. He was a lead demographer at the World Bank for 15 years and has worked for the United Nations (Haiti and New Caledonia), as well as for the Futures Group International, a U.S. consulting firm specializing in demographic modeling and policy. In addition, May has worked for most international agencies around the world, including UNFPA, UNICEF, USAID, and the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP). He was also a senior fellow at the Population Institute in Washington, D.C.

May has published World Population Policies: Their Origin, Evolution, and Impact (Springer, 2012), which received the Population Institute 2012 Global Media Award for best book in population. He was also coeditor of Africa's Population: In Search of a Demographic Dividend (Springer, 2017). Recently, he published Demography and Economic Emergence of Sub-Saharan Africa (Royal Belgian Academy, 2020) and coedited the International Handbook of Population Policies (Springer, 2022) with Jack Goldstone, professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government.

He earned both a BA in modern history (1973) and a MA in demography (1985) from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He received his PhD summa cum laude in 1996 from the University of Paris-V (Sorbonne).

View John May's CV

Areas of Research

  • Population Policies
  • Family Planning and Reproductive Health
  • Demographic Dividend
  • Mortality
  • Fertility
  • Migration
  • Urbanization
  • Sub-Saharan Africa