Christine Percheski

Associate Professor of Sociology and Institute for Policy Research Faculty Fellow, Northwestern University

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About Christine

Percheski’s research focuses on American families and the ways family life is changing, including recent increases in unmarried parenthood and the rise of new employment patterns among mothers and fathers. Much of her work considers how changes in family life affect poverty, income inequality, and access to health insurance for children and adults. She asks how public policies should adapt to changes in American families.


What Women Will Lose if the Ryan Budget Becomes Law

  • Ann Orloff

Fathers' Work and Child Wellbeing

    Christopher Wildeman

In the News

"Illinois Should Follow New York's Example on Paid Family Leave," Christine Percheski, Crain's Chicago Business News, January 12, 2018.
Christine Percheski quoted on female voters, "Man Winning Most Married Moms Poised for White House" Bloomberg News, June 25, 2012.
"Marriage Stable despite Sense of Shifting Values," Christine Percheski, Interview with Eight Forty-Eight, Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ), July 20, 2011.


"Marriage, Family Structure, and Maternal Employment Trajectories" Social Forces (2018).

Examines how maternal employment varies across family structures (married parents, cohabiting unmarried parents, and lone unmarried mothers) in the five years after a birth for mothers living in urban areas in the United States. Finds that cohabiting mothers return to work earlier and work more than married mothers and that cohabiting mothers and lone mothers show very similar unemployment patterns. Speculates that cohabiting mothers work more than married mothers as a hedge against economic deprivation given high union dissolution rates for cohabiting couples.

"Children Living with Uninsured Family Members: Differences by Family Structure" (with Shorn Bzostek). Journal of Marriage and Family 78, no. 5 (2016): 1208-1223.

Investigates family structure differences in family-level insurance coverage of households with children.

"Public Health Insurance and Health Care Utilization for Children in Immigrant Families" (with Sharon Bzostek). Maternal & Child Health Journal 21, no. 12 (2017): 2153-2160.

Proposes that children in immigrant families would likely benefit considerably from expansions of public health insurance eligibility to cover all children, including children without citizenship. 

"Deciding to Wait: Partnership Status, Economic Conditions, and Pregnancy During the Great Recession" (with Rachel Tolbert Kimbro). Sociological Science (2017).

Focuses on variations in pregnancy and infertility by partnership and marital status. Finds that worse economic conditions were predictive of a lower risk of unplanned pregnancy.