Christine Percheski

Assistant Professor of Sociology | IPR Fellow


Sociologist Christine Percheski’s research is focused on family demography, economic inequality, and health policy. Her research is particularly concerned with understanding the wellbeing of American women and families with children. Her past work has investigated how changes in family characteristics are associated with the rise in income inequality in the U.S., how the employment patterns of new mothers vary by their partner status, how the Great Recession affected pregnancy rates, and how health insurance coverage varies by family characteristics. She has also investigated the employment patterns of college-educated professional women and the so-called “opt-out phenomenon,” finding that women of Generation X with young children have higher full-time employment rates than previous cohorts of American women.  

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

Current Research 

Wealth Inequality among American Children. This NSF-funded project with Duke University professor Christina Gibson-Davis maps the rise in wealth inequality among families with children in the United States with the goals of understanding how family wealth vary by key characteristics of families, such as whether families include one or two parents and, if two parents, whether the parents are married, and how these associations have changed over time. This project also considers racial inequalities in wealth for families with children, and how the Great Recession impacted wealth differently for different family types. Their results will help social scientists understand how increases in wealth inequality are related to other changes in families, and whether changes in government programs are widening economic inequalities among children. 

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Cannon, S., and C. Percheski. 2017. Fertility change in the American Indian /Alaska Native population, 1980–2010. Demographic Research 37(1): 1–12. 

Percheski, C., and R. Kimbro. 2017. Deciding to wait: Partnership status, economic conditions, and pregnancy during the Great RecessionSociological Science 4:176–95.

Percheski, C. 2017. Men as dependents? Gender, marriage, and changes in health insurance coverage among adults in the United States, 1988–2008. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 3:1–13.

Bzostek, S., and C. Percheski. 2016. Children living with uninsured family members: Differences by family structure. Journal of Marriage and Family 78(5): 1208–23.

Percheski, C., and S. Bzostek. 2013. Health insurance coverage within sibships: Prevalence of mixed coverage and associations with health care utilizationSocial Science & Medicine 90:1–10.

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

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

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

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