Christine Percheski

Assistant Professor of Sociology


Sociologist Christine Percheski is interested in family demography, social inequality, and health policy. She studies the correlation between family characteristics, employment, and social inequality with a particular focus on American women and families with children. Her past work has investigated whether becoming a father affects employment differently for married and unmarried men, as well as how the employment patterns of new mothers vary by their partner status. In another project, she looked at how the “child penalty” on women's employment has changed across birth cohorts of women in professional occupations.

Percheski’s research has been published in such journals as the American Sociological Review and Journal of Marriage and Family. Prior to coming to Northwestern, Percheski was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at Harvard University.

Current Research

Health Insurance Complexity within Families and Healthcare Utilization. This project with Rutgers University professor Sharon Bzostek looks at health insurance coverage patterns among American families with children and how these patterns are related to health care utilization. The researchers are analyzing linked data from the National Health Interview Survey and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Preliminary findings suggest that when children within the same family have different types of health insurance coverage, they are less likely to have a usual source of medical care. Such children are also more likely to overuse emergency departments than children in families with uniform insurance coverage.

Family Characteristics and Women’s Economic Well-being. Is the current recession affecting women’s economic well-being differently than the recession of the early 1980s did? Using Current Population Survey data, Percheski investigates how women’s employment, earnings, and total family income during the current recession compare with that of the 1980s’ recession. Focusing on differences by marital and parental status, she shows how the social profile of who is most affected by a recession has been altered over the last two decades.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Percheski, C., and E. Hargittai. 2011. Health information-seeking in the digital age. Journal of American College Health. 59(5): 379–86.

McCall, L., and C. Percheski. 2010. Income inequality: New trends and research directions. Annual Review of Sociology 36: 329–47.

Wildeman, C., and C. Perchski. 2010. Associations of childhood religious attendance, family structure, and nonmarital fertility across cohorts. Journal of Marriage and Family 71(5): 1294–308.

Percheski, C. 2008. Opting out? Cohort differences in professional women’s employment rates from 1960 to 2005. American Sociological Review 73(3): 497–517.

Percheski, C., and C. Wildeman. 2008. Becoming a dad: Employment trajectories of married, cohabiting, and non-resident fathers. Social Science Quarterly 89(2): 482–501.

McLanahan, S., and C. Percheski. 2008. Family structure and the reproduction of inequalities. Annual Review of Sociology 34: 257–76.

Western, B., D. Bloome, and C. Percheski. 2008. Inequality among American families with children: 1975–2005. American Sociological Review 73(6): 903–20.