She is the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Houston and her PhD in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin, and she previously taught at the University of Wisconsin.
At Princeton, McLanahan is the founding director of the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, a principal investigator of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, director of the Education Research Section, and director of the Joint Degree Program in Social Policy.
McLanahan is editor-in-chief of the journal The Future of Children and a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation. She served as president of the Population Association of America in 2004, was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2005, and, in 2011, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2016.
She is known for her work on the family as a major institution in the American stratification system. Her early work examined the consequences of divorce and remarriage for parents and children, and her recent work focuses on families formed by unmarried parents. She is interested in the effects of family structure on social inequality and the roles that public policies can play in addressing the needs of families and children.
Honors and awards
She was American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow of 2019.
- "Vol. 25, No. 2, FALL 2015 of The Future of Children on JSTOR". www.jstor.org.
- McLanahan, Sara; Tach, Laura; Schneider, Daniel (2013). "The Causal Effects of Father Absence". Annual Review of Sociology. 39 (1): 399–427. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-071312-145704. ISSN 0360-0572. PMC 3904543. PMID 24489431.
- "Vol. 20, No. 2, FALL 2010 of The Future of Children on JSTOR". www.jstor.org.
- McLanahan, Sara (2009). "Fragile Families and the Reproduction of Poverty". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 621 (1): 111–131. doi:10.1177/0002716208324862. ISSN 0002-7162. PMC 2831755. PMID 20204078.
- McLanahan, Sara; Percheski, Christine (2008). "Family Structure and the Reproduction of Inequalities". Annual Review of Sociology. 34 (1): 257–276. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.34.040507.134549. ISSN 0360-0572.
- Meadows, Sarah O.; McLanahan, Sara S.; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne (2008). "Stability and Change in Family Structure and Maternal Health Trajectories". American Sociological Review. 73 (2): 314–334. doi:10.1177/000312240807300207. ISSN 0003-1224. PMC 2843941. PMID 20333277.
- Carlson, Marcia; McLanahan, Sara; England, Paula (2004). "Union Formation in Fragile Families". Demography. 41 (2): 237–261. doi:10.1353/dem.2004.0012. ISSN 1533-7790. PMC 3169423. PMID 15209039.
- McLanahan, Sara (2004). "Diverging Destinies: How Children Are Faring Under the Second Demographic Transition". Demography. 41 (4): 607–627. doi:10.1353/dem.2004.0033. ISSN 1533-7790. PMID 15622946. S2CID 6063666.
- McLanahan, Sara; Sandefur, Gary D. (1994). Growing up with a single parent : what hurts, what helps. Cambridge, Massachusetts. ISBN 0-674-36407-4. LCCN 94019995. OCLC 30474392. OL 1095466M.
- Garfinkel, Irwin; McLanahan, Sara; Irv Garfinkel (1986). Single mothers and their children : a new American dilemma. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press. ISBN 0-87766-404-8. LCCN 86023413. OCLC 14240910. OL 2729409M.
- McLanahan, Sara (1985). "Family Structure and the Reproduction of Poverty". American Journal of Sociology. 90 (4): 873–901. doi:10.1086/228148. ISSN 0002-9602.
- "Sara McLanahan". sociology.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "Sara McLanahan". Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- Curriculum Vitae, Sara McLanahan, Princeton University, 2011.
- "Sara S. McLanahan - Home". www.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "People | The Future of Children". www.futureofchildren.org. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "Who We Are". russell sage foundation. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "Past Presidents". Population Association of America. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "Sara McLanahan". The American Academy of Political and Social Science. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "Sara McLanahan". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "Newly Elected - April 2016". American Philosophical Society. Archived from the original on 2016-05-13.
- "2019 Fellows and International Honorary Members with their affiliations at the time of election". members.amacad.org. Archived from the original on 2020-03-02.