My research and teaching concern families and inequality. I write about demographic trends, family structure, the division of labor, and health disparities. My commentary on topics ranging from race and gender inequality to parenting, poverty, and popular culture has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the New Republic. The results of my research have been widely reported in major media, and I often comment on new research or trends in the news.

My popular textbook, The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change, is now in its third edition. For three years I was co-editor, with Syed Ali, of Contexts, the public-facing magazine of the American Sociological Association. Since 2016, I have been the founding director of SocArXiv, an open archive for the social sciences, and an advocate for open science in the research community. I am active in efforts to reform the system of scholarly communication, and often speak on the topic of how scholars can productively engage with our many public audiences, to improve our work and deepen its impact.

I am working on a new book, titled Citizen Scholar, to be published by Columbia University Press. You can read essays as I develop the book here.


  • PhD
    University of Maryland, 1999
  • MA
    University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1994
  • BA
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1992
  • Campus
    Chair: BSOS Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Committee
  • Campus
    Member: UMD PACT - Publishing, Access, and Contract Terms

Current Students

Former Students

  • Joanna R. Pepin
    Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo
  • Jeehye Kang
    Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University
  • Jaein Lee
    Visiting Assistant Professor, Gettysburg College
  • Joey Brown

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Hao-Chun Cheng
  • Joey Jennings
Philip N. Cohen
4127A Art/Sociology Building
Department of Sociology
pnc [at]