HENRIPIN, Jacques – 1926-2013

On September 2, 2013, our eminent colleague, Jacques Henripin, passed away after a short period of illness due to a very rapidly developing cancer. He was 87 years old.

Jacques Henripin finished a brilliant and innovative doctoral degree from the Université de Paris in 1953; his thesis was titled La population canadienne au début du XVIIIe siècle and published in 1954 at the Presses universitaires de France. Returning to Canada in 1954, he became a professor in the Department of Economics at the Université de Montreal. In 1964, he founded the Department of Demography in the same university, the only autonomous unit in this field in Canada. He acted as director until 1973, when he returned to his teaching and research.

His research interests were very wide and diversified. He had projects and publications in population history, fertility and contraception, infant mortality, family allowances and social security, public pension funds and population aging, linguistic groups, population projections and demographic and family policy. His most important books are: Tendances et facteurs de la fécondité au Canada (1968) (available in English), with R. Lachapelle, La situation démolinguistique au Canada: évolution passée et perspective (1980) (available in English), with P.-M. Huot, É. Lapierre-Adamcyk and N. Marcil-Gratton, Les Enfants qu’on n’a plus au Québec (1981), La Métamorphose de la population canadienne (2003), Pour une politique de population (2004). In 1998 he published an autobiography Souvenirs et réflexions d’un ronchon, and as late as 2011, he wrote a last book, more provocative, called Ma Tribu, un portrait sans totem ni tabou.

In 2008, Nicole Marcil-Gratton, one of his collaborators for many years, created the Prix Jacques-Henripin, a yearly award presented for the best master thesis written in the department of demography of the Université de Montréal, preferably in Canadian demography, and more specifically in family demography.

Jacques Henripin belonged to many professional associations and often played an active role; for example, from 1978 to 1982 he was vice-president of the Association internationale des démographes de langue française, and from 1978 to 1982, he was the first president of the Federation of Canadian Demographers. He was a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

Outside of the academic world, he devoted much of his time accepting to serve as an advisor; for example, from 1967 to 1970, he acted as a member of the Royal Commission on the status of women in Canada; from 1978 to 1982, as a member of the council in the Social and Humanity Research Council of Canada, and in various functions at Statistics Canada from 1985 to 1991.

Throughout his career, he was frequently honoured : Prix du Doyen Allix, Faculté de droit de Paris for his doctoral thesis, 1954; Medal Innis-Gérin, Royal Society of Canada, 1971; Prix Marcel-Vincent, ACFAS, 1981; Prix Léon-Gérin, Prix du Québec, 1982; Prix Esdras Minville, Société St-Jean-Baptiste, 1986; Order of Canada (member), 1988; Ordre national du Québec (officer), 1992; Medal Pierre-Chauveau (Royal Society of Canada), 1997.

Jacques Henripin had an exceptional career. As a social scientist, he was preoccupied with the well-being of his fellow citizens and wanted the public deciders, as well as the public at large, to make decisions based on scientific knowledge. He inspired many of us, and one of his most important legacies rests with the foundation of the Department of Demography, where hundreds of students learned about the fundamental importance of demographic phenomena in the social and economic organisation of our society. It is with the deepest regrets that we see him go.

— Évelyne Lapierre-Adamcyk