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Asian Studies
Educational Sociology
Inequality and Stratification
International and Area Studies
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Natalie Young’s research is concerned with the implications of social inequality for the well-being of children and families, with a particular focus on education and health. She is currently at the U.S. Census Bureau, where she is investigating connections between childhood disability, poverty, and education in the United States. In addition to this work, she continues to research social inequality in comparative perspective as a Research Affiliate at the Population Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been published in Social Forces, The China Quarterly, Comparative Education, and Identities and she has contributed to an edited volume on urbanization and social change in China. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019. Her dissertation examined how families at the top of the new social hierarchy in China are circumventing equalizing features of the highly competitive educational system to give their children an extra boost, and how this is contributing to diverging developmental contexts for children.
Research Interests
Family Inequality
International Development
Social Stratification

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  • Publication
    Childhood Inequality in China
    (2018-07-01) Young, Natalie A. E.; Hannum, Emily
    In recent decades, China has transformed from a relatively egalitarian society to a highly unequal one. What are the implications of high levels of inequality for the lives of children? Drawing on two newly available, nationally representative datasets, the China Family Panel Studies and the China Education Panel Survey, we develop a comprehensive portrait of childhood inequality in post-reform China. Analyses reveal stark disparities between children from different socioeconomic backgrounds in family environments and in welfare outcomes, including physical health, psychosocial health, and educational performance. We argue that childhood inequality in China is driven not only by the deprivations of poverty, but also by the advantages of affluence, as high socioeconomic status children diverge from their middle and low socioeconomic status counterparts on various family environment and child welfare measures.