Ph.D. University at Albany-SUNY
Department of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
26 Nichol Avenue
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
Office: Davison Hall, 039
Lei Lei is an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She earned her Ph.D. degree in sociology at the University at Albany-SUNY. Before joining Rutgers, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Population Research Center at the University of Maryland.
She studies social determinants of health, family dynamics, and social inequality in different societies. One line of her research seeks to understand how social factors, such as residential context, working conditions, family dynamics, and gender roles, get under the skin to produce and perpetuate health inequalities. She has published articles examining the impact of neighborhood environments and family socioeconomic status on children’s health, nutritional status, and cognitive skills in China. Currently, she employs longitudinal data from the Indian Human Development Survey to analyze how male absence due to outmigration influences the health of left-behind wives and children in India.
Another strand of her research investigates the determinants and consequences of young adults’ prolonged co-residence with parents. She has also used longitudinal data from the Penal Study of Income Dynamics-Transition to Adulthood study to examine the phenomenon of “boomerang kids” in the U.S. Her work provides a comprehensive explanation for both the timing of home-leaving and home-returning and explains why Black and Hispanic young adults in the U.S. are less likely than Whites to move out of the parental home and more likely to return. More recently, she investigates the impact of coresidence with parents on young adults’ demographic behaviors, including residential mobility, romantic relationships, and sexual activities.