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Hypothesizing Upward: Have U.S. State Policies Widened Inequalities in Life Expectancy?

October 26, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

On Friday, October 26th, Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD, will present Hypothesizing Upward: Have U.S. State Policies Widened Inequalities in Life Expectancy? as part of the Carolina Population Center 2018-2019 Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series. Montez is a Professor of Sociology, the Gerald B. Cramer Faculty Scholar of Aging Studies, and Co-Director of the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab at Syracuse University. Her work examines the large and growing inequalities in U.S. adult mortality since the early 1980s. She is particularly interested in why trends in mortality have been most troubling for women, low-educated adults, and states in the South and Midwest.
Professor Montez is hosted by Carolina Population Center Fellow Robert (Bob) Hummer. Hummer is the Howard W. Odum Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also co-PI of the Biosocial Training Program at the Carolina Population Center.


In the United States, life expectancy is increasingly being shaped by where we live and how much schooling we have completed. Why? Most speculation has focused on “micro-level” explanations, such as individuals’ personal choices and lifestyle behaviors. This presentation will discuss the importance of macro-level explanations, particularly U.S. state policies. Weaving together results from several recent and ongoing studies, this presentation will build the case that the diverging policy contexts of U.S. states—resulting from decades of deregulation, devolution of political authority from federal to state levels, and state preemption laws—have likely played a critical role in the widening inequalities in life expectancy.

Curriculum Vita (PDF)

Instructors: To arrange for class attendance, contact Kate Allison ( by the Monday before the seminar

Streaming may be available and must be arranged at least one week in advance.

This seminar is part of the Carolina Population Center’s Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series.


October 26, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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