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Jennifer Karas Montez

Jennifer Karas Montez

Contact Information:


314H Lyman Hall

Office Hours:

By appointment

Jennifer Karas Montez

University Professor, Sociology Department

Gerald B. Cramer Faculty Scholar in Aging Studies

Director, Center for Aging and Policy Studies

Co-Director of the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab

Senior Research Associate, Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health

Faculty Associate, Aging Studies Institute

Research Affiliate, Center for Policy Research


SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
SOC 714: Intermediate Social Statistics
SOC 800: Human Conquest of Disease & Early Death

SOC 813: Advanced Social Statistics



Highest degree earned

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2011


Jennifer Karas Montez earned a Ph.D. in sociology with a demography specialization from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011. Afterwards, she spent two years at the Harvard School of Public Health as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar, and then two years at Case Western Reserve University as an assistant professor of sociology, before joining the Department of Sociology at Syracuse University. 

Montez’s research investigates the troubling trends in population health in the United States since the 1980s and the growing influence of state policies and politics on those trends. A major focus of this work has been understanding why the trends are particularly worrisome for women, for people without a college degree, and for those living in states in the South and Midwest. Her research has been funded by the NIH, NSF, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. 

Montez directs the NIA-funded Center for Aging and Policy Studies, co-directs the NIA-funded Network on Life Course Health Dynamics and Disparities, and co-directs the Policy, Place, and Population Health (P3H) Lab at Syracuse University. She serves on the board of directors of the Population Association of America and Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science; and serves on the editorial boards of Demography, Journal of Health and Social Behavior and the Milbank Quarterly.

Areas of Expertise

Demography, political economy and population health, life course and aging


A sample of publications (see CV for complete list)

Jennifer Karas Montez. 2020. “US State Polarization, Policymaking Power, and Population Health.” The Milbank Quarterly 98(4):1033-1052.

Jennifer Karas Montez, Jason Beckfield, Julene Kemp Cooney, Jacob M. Grumbach, Mark D. Hayward, Huseyin Zeyd Koytak, Steven H. Woolf, & Anna Zajacova. 2020. “US State Policies, Politics, and Life Expectancy.” The Milbank Quarterly 98(3):668-699.

 Jennifer Karas Montez, Mark D. Hayward, and Anna Zajacova. 2019. “Educational Disparities in U.S. Adult Health: U.S. States as Institutional Actors on the Association.” Socius: 5:1-14. 

Jennifer Karas Montez, Anna Zajacova, Mark D. Hayward, Steven H. Woolf, Derek Chapman, & Jason Beckfield. 2019. “Educational Disparities in Adult Mortality across U.S. States: How Do They Differ and Have They Changed Since the Mid-1980s?” Demography 56(2):621-644

Jennifer Karas Montez. 2017. “Deregulation, Devolution, and State Preemption Laws’ Impact on U.S. Mortality Trends.” American Journal of Public Health 107(11):1749-1750.

Jennifer Karas Montez, Anna Zajacova, and Mark D. Hayward. 2017. “Disparities in Disability by Educational Attainment across U.S. States.” American Journal of Public Health 107(7):1101-1108. PMCID: PMC5463211

Jennifer Karas Montez, Mark D. Hayward, and Douglas A. Wolf. 2017. “Do U.S. States’ Socioeconomic and Policy Contexts Shape Adult Disability?” Social Science & Medicine 178:115-126. PMCID: PMC5388855

Jennifer Karas Montez, Anna Zajacova, and Mark D. Hayward. 2016. “Explaining Inequalities in Women’s Mortality between U.S. States.”  SSM - Population Health 2:561-571. PMCID: PMC5049881. 

Jennifer Karas Montez, Pekka Martikainen, Hanna Remes, and Mauricio Avendano. 2015. “Work-Family Context and the Longevity Disadvantage of U.S. Women.” Social Forces 93(4):1567-1597. PMCID: PMC5070483

Jennifer Karas Montez and Mark D. Hayward. 2014. “Cumulative Childhood Adversity, Educational Attainment, and Active Life Expectancy among U.S. Adults.” Demography 51(2):413-435. PMCID: PMC4465758

Presentations and Events


“Disparities in Midlife Mortality” webinar panel discussion organized by the National Academics of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.  

 “US State Policies and Mortality of Working-Age Adults” to be presented at the University of Maryland Population Research Center.  

 “Politics and Death” Plenary at the Southern Demographic Association conference, Knoxville 

 “US State Policies, Politics, and Life Expectancy.” Presented at the University of Texas at Austin, Population Research Center Brownbag; the Center for Health Innovation and Policy Science in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington; the LSU Health Sciences Center; and the Milbank Fund’s Reforming States Group.  


“State Preemption of Minimum Wage and Infant Deaths.” Presented at the National Association for Black Journalists-National Association of Hispanic Journalists annual convention.  

 “State Preemption and Population Health.” Presented at the Preemption, Structural Racism, and Home Rule Reform Funder’s Forum, sponsored by the Surdna Foundation and Local Solutions Support Center, NYC.  


“Devolution and Death in the American States.” Presented at the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University.  

“U.S. State Contexts and Inequalities in Life Expectancy.” Presented at the UC-Berkeley Demography Brown Bag Series and the University of Washington’s Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology.