Michel Poulain studied astrophysics at University of Liège (ULg) and received a PhD in demography at Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL). As a demographer, he specialises in international migration statistics and longevity studies.
Michel is currently an emeritus professor at UCL; he is also a senior researcher at the Estonian Institute for Population Studies at Tallinn University (Estonia). He has been President of the Société Belge de Démographie (1984-1990) and later of the Association Internationale des Démographes de Langue Française (AIDELF), (1988-2000).
Since 1989, he has contributed to the harmonisation of international migration statistics firstly with the European Union (THESIM) and subsequently worldwide with the International Organization of Migration (IOM).
Michel has been involved in centenarian’s studies since 1992, and he has validated the age of numerous supercentenarians including Antonio Todde, Johan Riudavets and Emma Moreno.
In 2000, he introduced the concept of Blue Zone, studying populations experiencing exceptionally high longevity and identified with Gianni Pes the first Blue Zone in Sardinia. He then cooperated with Dan Buettner to investigate additional Blue Zones in Okinawa, Costa Rica and Ikaria (Greece).