Annette Lareau, Ph.D.

Annette Lareau

Professor of Sociology


277 McNeil Building


Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 1984
M.A., Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 1978
B.A., with highest honors, Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1974

Research Interests

Annette Lareau is a sociologist who studies family life. She is interested how the social position of children and parents has an impact on the quality of their life experiences.  She has explored these issues in the arena of family-school relationships (i.e., Home Advantage), the cultural logic of child rearing (i.e., Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life), the process through which parents go about deciding where to live and send their children to school (i.e., Choosing Homes, Choosing Schools edited with Kimberly Goyette), and, in her current study, the blessings and challenges of families with high net worth.

Raised in California, she received her doctorate from University of California. Berkeley. She joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 after having work at University of Maryland, College Park, Temple University, and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She has received grants from the Spencer Foundation and, most recently, the National Science Foundation. An active member of the American Sociological Association, she served as Chair of the Education Section as well as the Family Section. She served as President of the American Sociological Association and presided over the 2014 annual meeting. She served as President between 2013 and 2014.

Her books have received numerous awards. Home Advantage received the prize for Distinguished Scholarship by the American Sociological Association Section on Sociology of Education. Unequal Childhoods was honored by three different sections in the American Sociological Association (i.e,. Childhood and Youth, Culture (co-winner), and Family). Unequal Childhoods was discussed by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers; it was also written up by David Brooks of the New York Times.

In her current study, Annette Lareau is using qualitative methods to understand the blessings and challenges faced by families with high net worth. She is studying a total of 70 families. One-half of the families have created wealth (i.e., “Generation one); the other one-half of the families in the study have inherited wealth. This research, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, will use research assistants in selected roles.

Research Projects

The second edition of Unequal Childhoods was published in September 2011.

The updated edition includes the results of a follow-up study conducted a decade after the original research when the young adults were 19 and 20 years of age. The updated edition has 100 pages of new text.

University of California Press has useful resources for instructors including PowerPoint slides for each chapter in the book, copies of the tables in the book, and other materials. The materials can be accessed on the University of California Press website.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Sociology - Fall 2011 Syllabus

Seminar, Rich and Poor Syllabus - Spring 2009 Syllabus

Sociology Fieldwork: 

Spring 2017 Syllabus

Fall 2017 Syllabus

Spring 2016 Syllabus

Fall 2011 Syllabus

Graduate Courses

Sociology of the Family - Spring 2011 Syllabus

Selected Publications

Lareau, Annette. 2012. Using the Terms "Hypothesis" and "Variable" in Qualitative Work: A Critical Reflection. Journal of Marriage and the Family.

Lareau, Annette and Vanessa Lopes Munoz, 2012, "'You're Not Going to Call the Shots': Structural Conflict Between the Principal and the PTO in a Suburban Public Elementary School. Sociology of Education

Lareau Annette and Amanda Cox. 2011. "Social Class and the Transition to Adulthood: Differences in Parents' Interactions with Institutions." Pp. 134-164 in Marcia Carlson and Paula England (Ed.), Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Lareau, Annette (2009) Narrow questions, narrow answers: the limited value of randomized controlled trials for education research. in Pamela Barnhouse Walters and Sheri Ranis (2009) Education research on trial : policy reform and the call for scientific rigor. Milton Park, Oxon; New York, N.Y.: Routledge.

Weininger, Elliot B. and Annette Lareau. 2009. An Ethnographic Extension of Kohn's Findings on Conformity and Self-Direction in Childrearing. Journal of Marriage and Family.

Lareau, A., & Weininger, E. (2008). Time, work, and family life: Reconceptualizing gendered time patterns through the case of children's organized activities. Sociological Forum, 23(3), 419-454. doi: 10.1111/j.1573-7861.2008.00085.x

Horvat, E. M., Weininger, E., & Lareau, A. (2003). From social ties to social capital: Class differences in the relations between schools and parent networksAmerican Educational Research Association,40(2), 319-351.

Lareau, Annette and Elliot B. Weininger. 2003. Cultural Capital in Educational Research: A Critical Assessment. Theory and Society. 32 (5/6): 567-606.

Weininger, E., & Lareau, A. (2003). Translating bourdieu into the american context: the question of social class and family-school relations. Poetics, 31, 375-402.

Lareau, Annette. 2002. "Invisible Inequality: Social Class and Childrearing in Black Families and White Families." American Sociological Review. 67 (5): 747-776.

Lareau, A. (2000). My wife can tell me who I know: Methodological and conceptual problems in studying fathers. Qualitative Sociology, 23(4), 407-433.

Lareau, A. (1987). Social class differences in family-school relationships: the importance of cultural capital. Sociology of Education, 60(2), 73-85.



College of Holy Cross, Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, March 23, 2012.

Conference in honor the 50th Anniversary of the Publication of Michael Harrington's book *The Other America*.

University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences Knowledge by the Slice Lecture

"Unequal Childhoods and Unequal Adulthoods", Fall 2011.

Media Appearances

Perils of Parenting Article - Penn Gazette, September 2011

PBS Newshour, Conversation with Ray Suarez - "How the US Economy, Americans Fared in 2011.”

National Council on Family Relations - "Family Focus On: Families and Social Class", March 2007

New York Times - David Brooks' "Both Sides of Inequality", March 2009

New York Times OpEd - "The Long-Lost Cousins of the Middle Class", December 2003

University of California Press - "Question and Answers: Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life"

Professional Information

President-Elect, American Sociological Association (2012)

President, American Sociological Association, August 16 - 19, 2014, San Francisco, California

The American Sociological Association, 2014 Theme: Hard Times: The Impact of Economic Inequality on Families and Individuals"

CV (file)
CV (url)