Visiting Speaker - Christine Percheski

Percheski Talk

Event Date

11/08/2019 - 15:30

Christine Percheski (Sociology, Northwestern University)
Widening Inequalities? Resources during Childhood and Adult Family Formation in the United States
3:30-5:00PM, G08 Uris Hall
Hosted by the Center for the Study of Inequality and co-sponsored by the Cornell Population Center

Childhood experiences and resources influence our family configurations in adulthood. Professor Percheski's talk will hypothesize that, as childhood SES resources have become more unequally distributed, the associations between childhood family resources and adult family formation may have strengthened across birth cohorts, extending McLanahan’s “diverging destinies” argument. If family formation is more strongly patterned by childhood SES resources for recent cohorts, this could further increase inequality among children and adults. Using longitudinal data from women born in the early 1960s and early 1980s from NLSY79 and NLSY97 datasets, she examines how characteristics of an individual’s natal families associate with the timing and context of becoming a mother. Three family formation patterns are examined: early marital parenthood, single parenthood, and delayed or foregone parenthood.


Christine Percheski is Associate Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University. She studies how recent and ongoing changes in family life are related to changing patterns of social inequality in the United States.

Her previous work has examined the relationship between family characteristics and social inequality in several domains including income and wealth inequality in the United States, employment patterns among mothers and fathers, health insurance coverage for adults, and health care utilization among children. Professor Percheski’s current research portfolio includes investigations of 1) racial and ethnic wealth gaps among families with children;  2) cohort change in the associations between childhood family resources and family formation in young adulthood; 3) impacts of local economic conditions on sexual and contraceptive behavior among unmarried women and men; 4) the effects of state insurance investments on wealth inequality in children’s development.