Mao-Mei Liu

Lecturer in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley


Mao-Mei’s work is situated at the intersection of migration, social demography, and the sociology of families. As a scholar, she seeks to understand why and how people migrate. Mao-Mei is particularly interested in how personal relationships and contexts influence long-distance, international migration. Thus far, her research has largely focused on contemporary migration between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

Mao-Mei’s current projects include investigating how migrant networks shape the legal status of Senegalese migrants to Europe, and how social capital at origin and destination appear to jointly influence international migration.

In other research, she seeks to understand migration in comparative multi-country contexts: from sub-Saharan Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, and Senegal) to Europe and between different ‘migration systems’ (Mexico-U.S., Senegal-Europe), as well as in more complex migration trajectories.

Mao-Mei primarily employs social demography tools to analyze large data sets. Since 2007, she has collaborated with researchers in Africa and Europe in the major effort to collect and analyze social demographic information about migration between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe (the Migration between Africa and Europe or MAFE project).


Family, Gender, International migration, Social demography, Social networks