Prof Ming Wen

Professor, Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences


Ming Wen Joined the University of Hong Kong in the Fall of 2022 as the Dean of Social Sciences. She started her academic career at the University of Utah in 2003, where she rose through the academic ranks to full professorship in 2013 and chaired the Department of Sociology from 2015 to 2021. She is currently Deputy Editor of the Journal of Social and Behavioral Science, the medical sociology flagship journal at the American Sociological Association, and served as a Standing Member for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Community Influences on Health Behavior study section from 2013 to 2017.

Wen is a population scholar studying the social determinants of health and human development across the life course, with broad training in sociology, epidemiology, and statistics. Her US-based studies have examined the place and family effects on various health and lifestyle outcomes across the life course. Her recent China-based work focuses on how family rural-to-urban migration plays a role in child developmental outcomes and how living arrangements and socio-relational characteristics affect health and well-being among middle-aged and older adults. Wen has published prolifically on social contexts of population outcomes in top-specialty or top-generalist journals such as Demography, Social Forces, Social Science & Medicine, Journal of Gerontology, Child Development, Milbank Quarterly, Social Science & Research, and American Journal of Public Health. Her research has been widely cited and generously funded by the NIH and various private foundations.


B.S., Information Science, Peking University

M.S., Statistics, University of Chicago

Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago

Research interests

Social determinants of health & well-being

Midlife health and mortality, aging and the life course

Child development

Urban sociology


Honours and recognitions

2015 College of Social Behavioral Science Senior Superior Research Award Winner, University of Utah

2008 College of Social Behavioral Science Junior Superior Research Award Winner, University of Utah

2007 OYCF-Ford Teaching Fellowship

2006 NSF Sponsored Space Workshop Fellowship

2005 NSF National Poverty Center Summer Workshop on Poverty Fellowship

2005 RAND/NIA Summer Institute on Aging Fellowship

Selected publications

Curtis, David S., Fuller, Thomas E., Carlson, Daniel L., Wen, Ming & Kramer, Michael R. (2022). Does a rising median income lift all birth weights? County median income changes and low birth weight rates among births to black and white mothers. The Milbank Quarterly. Vol. 100, 38-77. Published, 03/01/2022.…

Wen, Ming & Gu, Danan (2021). Living arrangements and disability among older adults in China. China: An International Journal. Vol. 19, 132-147. Published, 08/09/2021.

Wen, Ming & Ren, Qiang (2021). Cognitive and psychological health implications of living alone among middle-aged and older adults in China. Asian Population Studies. Vol. 17, 181-200. Published, 02/11/2021.…

Wen, Ming, Wang, Weidong, Wan, Neng & Su, Dejun (2020). Family income and student educational and cognitive outcomes in China: Exploring the material and psychosocial mechanisms. Social Sciences. Vol. 9, 225. Published, 11/18/2020.

Wen, Ming, Ren, Qiang, Korinek, Kim & Trinh, Ha N. (2019). Living in skipped generation households and happiness among middle-aged and older grandparents in China. Social Science Research. Vol. 80, 145-155. Published, 01/11/2019.

Wen, Ming, Fan, Jessie X., Kowaleski-Jones, Lori & Wan, Neng (2018). Rural-urban disparities in obesity in the United States: The role of individual and neighborhood factors. American Journal of Health Promotion. Vol. 32, 400-408. Published, 02/08/2018.

Wen, Ming (2017). Social capital and adolescent substance use: The role of family, school and neighborhood contexts. Journal of Research on Adolescence. Vol. 27, 362-378. Published, 01/17/2017.

Wen, Ming & Kowaleski-Jones, Lori (2012). Sex and ethnic differences in validity of self-reported adult height, weight and body mass index. Ethnicity and Disease. Vol. 22, 72-78. Published, 01/2012.

Wen, Ming & Gu, Danan (2011). The effects of childhood, adulthood, and community socioeconomic status on healthy longevity among older people in China. Demography. Vol. 48, 153-181. Published, 02/2011.…

Wen, Ming & Maloney, Thomas (2011). Latino residential isolation and the risk of obesity in Utah: The role of neighborhood socioeconomic, built-environmental, and subcultural context. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. Vol. 13, 1134-1141. Published, 02/2011.…

Wen, Ming, Browning, Christopher r. & Cagney, Kathleen A. (2003). Poverty, affluence, and income inequality: Neighborhood economic structure and its implications for health. Social Science & Medicine. Vol. 57, 843-860. Published, 09/15/2003.