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Picture of Annette Lareau

Photo by: Shira Yudkoff

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.

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 addition, she received the University of Pennsylvania Provost’s Award for Distinguished Ph.D. Teaching and Mentorship in 2020.

In one of her current studies, Families and Money, 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, includes two research assistants in selected roles.