Joan Kahn is a social demographer whose interests and research have focused on issues related to social changes in the United States over the past half century, particularly in the areas of family, gender, and health. Whereas her earliest work examined topics related to fertility, especially among teenagers and immigrants, her more recent work has focused on aging processes, gender and health inequalities, and intergenerational relationships. She has explored the long-term consequences of earlier life experiences through studies of the accumulated effects of financial strain on health at older ages, and the long-term impact of birth-timing on women’s careers. She has also explored the changing nature of intergenerational relationships both over time and across the life course through studies of long-term trends in living arrangements and the narrowing gender gap in caregiving at older ages.
Joan Kahn has been a sociology professor at the University of Maryland since 1987 and a faculty associate at the Maryland Population Research Center since its founding in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan. Throughout her career at Maryland, she has been actively involved in the training and mentoring of both undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of demography, aging, health, and social inequality.