Joan Kahn, Professor Emerita of Sociology, a social demographer whose work focused on issues related to family, gender and social change in the U.S.  Whereas her earlier work examined topics related to fertility, especially among teenagers and immigrants, her later work used a life course perspective to understand aging processes, gender and health inequalities and intergenerational relationships.

She studied the broad social changes of the past half century through the changing work and family lives of cohorts, especially those preceding and including the baby boom generation.  As the baby boomers moved from midlife into the “mature” ages, they brought with them vastly different past family experiences than previous generations of older adults, with important implications for the well-being of both older individuals and their families.

Kahn has explored the long-term consequences of earlier life course experiences through studies of the accumulated effects of financial strain on health at older ages, and the long-term impact of birth-timing on women’s careers. She has also explored the changing nature of intergenerational relationships both over time and across the life course through studies of long-term trends in living arrangements and the narrowing gender gap in caregiving at older ages.

Kahn regularly taught courses in Demography, Aging and Health to both undergraduate and graduate students, and she advised countless numbers of MA and PhD students.


  • PhD
    Sociology, Michigan (1985)
  • BA
    History, Stanford (1978)
Joan Kahn
jkahn [at]