Montez's research focuses on the troubling trends in population health in the United States since the 1980s and the growing influence of state policies and politics on those trends. A major focus of this work has been understanding why the trends are particularly worrisome for women, for people without a college degree, and for those living in states in the South and Midwest. Montez serves on the Board of Directors of the Population Association of America and Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science.
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Shows the gap in the probability of having a disability between adults without a high school credential and college graduates is much larger in certain states partly because low-educated adults are more often poor and living in poor communities in those states.
Systematically examines the large inequalities in women's mortality between U.S. states using a multilevel approach, focusing on “fundamental” social determinants of mortality at the individual and state levels as potential explanations.
Shows that states with stronger economic output, more income equality, and long histories of state supplemental Earned Income Tax Credit have much lower disability.
Presents evidence that U.S. women have shorter lives than Finnish women in large part because the paltry supports for working parents in the U.S. prevent many women, especially low-educated women, from engaging in paid employment.
Establishes that childhood socioeconomic conditions have long-term effects on physical functioning in later life, but that an individual’s own education level matters more.
Documents that the growing gap in mortality between lower-educated and higher-educated women is in large part due to unfavorable trends in employment and smoking among lower-educated women.