Fellows Detail

Emeritus Professor Martin Bell

BA (Hons), MA (Flinders); PhD (Queensland); FASSA

Elected: 2018

Discipline: Geography

Specialisation: Demography, Internal Migration, Population Mobility


Martin Bell is Emeritus Professor at the University of Queensland, and Adjunct Professor at Shanghai University. He is a population geographer and demographer with experience in government, industry and academia and until December 2015 was Professor of Human Geography and Director of the Queensland Centre for Population Research in UQ’s then School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management. He previously held appointments at the University of Adelaide and in the Australian Government sector and has extensive experience in building and managing large research teams.

He led the major Census-based studies of internal migration in Australia and co-edited a collection on Australian mobility Population Shift (with Newton 1996). Other contributions include a ‘welfare-led’ theory of counter-urban migration (with Wulff & Hugo), cross-national comparison of mobility among indigenous peoples in Australasia and North America (with Taylor), analysis of repeat and return migration (with Newbold), links between migration and health (with Larson) and development of theories and measures of temporary mobility in developed countries (with Charles-Edwards).

Since 2000 he has focused principally on developing and applying robust measures of population mobility and internal migration to understand differences in the level, patterns and causes of human mobility in countries around the world. He led the major international collaborative IMAGE research project (Internal Migration Around the Globe) funded by the Australian Research Council which generated the first global inventory of internal migration data collected in 193 UN Member States, established an international data repository and computed cross-national comparative measures of mobility. This work has been utilised by both the United Nations Development Program and the UN Population Division.

He has also contributed to the field of regional and local demographic forecasting and developed several of the demographic projection software models used by Australian planning authorities. Key published outputs in this domain include a Best Practice Guide to Demographic Forecasting for Infrastructure Planning and a Directory of Australian Demographic Projections. In the early 2000s he collaborated with Wilson in developing new multiregional projection models and probabilistic forecasting algorithms.

A central focus of Bell’s work is concerned with the provision of policy advice on population-related issues to government within Australia and beyond. He has close international connections with centres of expertise, particularly in relation to migration, across Europe, Asia and North America, and is a regular participant at international conferences throughout the world. In 2015 he served as principal convenor for the 8th International Conference on Population Geographies and co-edited a volume entitled Demography for Planning and Policy:  Australian Case Studies, published by Springer.

Since retirement from UQ at the end of 2015, he has remained actively engaged in demographic research with ongoing involvement on ARC funded projects, consultancy work for UNESCO and the UNFPA, and a continuing stream of publications. He accepted an adjunct appointment at Shanghai University in 2016 and since 2017 has been leading a new project comparing mobility across 50 countries of Asia funded by the Shanghai University’s Asian Demographic Research Institute.


Emeritus Professor, The University of Queensland; Adjunct Professor Shanghai University


Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia


Bell, M, Charles-Edwards, E, Bernard, A. & Ueffing, P. [2017]: Global Trends in Internal Migration, pp. 76-97 in Champion, A, Cooke, T. & Shuttleworth, I. (eds.) Internal Migration in the Developed World. Are We Becoming Less Mobile? Routledge, Routledge

Rees, P., Bell, M, Kupiszewski, M. and Kupiszewska, D. Ueffing, P., Bernard, A., Charles-Edwards, E, and Stillwell, J., [2016]: The impact of internal migration on population redistribution: an international comparison, Population, Space and Place, DOI: 10.1002/psp.2036

Bell, M. [2015]: Demography, time and space, Journal of Population Research, 32(3-4): 173-186 DOI: 10.1007/s12546-015-9148-6

Bell, M, Charles-Edwards, E, Ueffing, P., Stillwell, J., Kupiszewski, M. and Kupiszewska, D. [2015]: Internal migration and development: comparing migration intensities around the world, Population and Development Review, 41(1): 33-58

Bell, M.,  Blake, M., Boyle, P., Duke-Williams, O., Rees, P. & Stillwell, J. & Hugo, G., [2002]: ‘Cross-national comparison of internal migration: issues and measures’, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society A, 165(3): 435-464.


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