Inequality of economic precarity and uncertainty and family formation and instability

Project Summary:

Economic inequality and family insecurity have risen in the United States over the past several decades. The interaction between the two phenomena is a matter of debate, as many researchers and policymakers have pointed to family structure, particularly non-marital childbirth, as a key source of rising economic inequality. But what if the relationship went the other way, and rising inequality and economic insecurity were themselves causes of family insecurity? The researchers tackle this question by looking at individual families and their evolution over time. Family instability has major implications for the development of human capital, which in turn feeds directly into long-term economic growth prospects.


Daniel Schneider is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests are focused on social demography, inequality, and the family. Current research includes an investigation of the role of economic resources in entry into marriage and cohabitation; a project examining the effects of the Great Recession on relationship quality, union dissolution, and fertility; and work on how precarious and unpredictable employment affects family life. Schneider’s work has appeared in such venues as the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and Social Problems.

Before joining the Department of Sociology at UC Berkeley, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar in Health Policy Research. He received his B.A. in public policy from Brown University, and a Ph.D. in sociology and social policy from Princeton University.