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Presented By: Institute for Social Research

How the Measurement and Meaning of Family Structure Shape Research on Young Adult Racial Inequality

Inclusive Research Matters Series/ PSC Brown Bag Series

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Abstract:
At the population level, Black and White youth in the United States enter adulthood after a lifetime of divergent family structure experiences. A substantial social science literature has investigated whether this variation in childhood family structure contributes to racial disparities in the timing, sequence, and context of events in the transition into adulthood. This discussion adopts a critical perspective on mainstream research on this topic. The panelists highlight opportunities in family demography, social stratification, human development, and race and ethnic studies to advance theory, measurement, and empirical modeling in order to more accurately reflect Black family organization and to situate Black and White families in the a broader context of racialized social, economic, and political inequality.

Speakers:
Paula Fomby is a research associate professor in the Survey Research Center and Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. She holds a PhD in Sociology with an emphasis in social demography from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research considers how family composition and family process contribute to variation in child and young adult well-being, particularly in the context of social inequality. Fomby is the associate director of the UM Population Studies Center, a co-investigator on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), and the associate director of the PSID Child Development Supplement.

Christina Cross is a postdoctoral fellow and incoming assistant professor of Sociology at Harvard University. She completed her PhD in Sociology and Public Policy at University of Michigan. Her research examines how family structure, change, and dynamics influence individual wellbeing across the life course, particularly among minority and/or low-income populations. Much of her work has focused on childhood as a key stage in the life course for the emergence and accumulation of social advantages or disadvantages.

Bethany Letiecq is an associate professor in the Human Development and Family Science program at George Mason University. - She received her PhD in health education/family studies and her MS in family and community development from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Letiecq employs community-based participatory and action research approaches to conduct research in partnership with families systematically marginalized by society to promote family health and justice. She is keenly interested in how social policies and practices facilitate or hinder family functioning and health across all families.

This event is an ISR Inclusive Research Matters presentation, sponsored by the Education Programs Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team, the Population Studies Center and the Michigan Program in Survey and Data Science.

Michigan Population Studies Center (PSC) Brown Bag seminars highlight recent research in population studies and serve as a focal point for building our research community.
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