Paula Fomby, Ph.D.

Paula Fomby, Ph.D.

Professor of SociologyAssociate Director, Population Studies Center

McNeil 244


I am a sociologist and family demographer. I study how families and social institutions interact to shape children’s well-being and life chances, with particular attention to economic and racialized inequalities. Much of my work focuses on children’s family composition – that is, the network of relationships among people who constitute a child’s family system. I also have extensive experience in the design, collection, and public release of population-representative national survey data on children and families.

My current research focuses on (1) the mechanisms that generate intergenerational inequality through their influence on family composition; (2) racial differences in the determinants and consequences of marriage, singlehood, and extended kin coresidence for parents and children; and (3) strategies to observe and measure economic resources in cross-household family systems among children who do not live with both parents.  

My research has been supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Science Foundation and has appeared in peer-reviewed outlets including Demography, Annual Review of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Family Theory and Review, and Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

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PhD, Sociology, University of Wisconsin, 2001

MS, Sociology, University of Wisconsin, 1997

BA, History, University of California Berkeley, 1991

CV (file)