RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Area(s) of Expertise:
Social Stratification, Health and Aging, Social Demography, Families and Households
Esther Friedman is a sociologist based out of RAND's Santa Monica office. Her research is motivated by an interest in how disparities in health, wealth, and aging come about. Friedman is particularly interested in the role of family – both childhood family environments and later life family characteristics and relationships – in shaping trajectories of healthy aging.
Friedman's recent work has used data from multiple generations of the family to investigate the relationship between offspring's schooling and their parents' later life outcomes, including health, care, and wealth. Other ongoing work examines the factors that predict which children will care for older parents, how siblings coordinate care for their elderly parents, and the consequences of childhood circumstances for lifetime trajectories of health and aging.
Friedman earned a Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA in 2011. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, she obtained a master's degree in statistics from Columbia University and worked as a statistician at Mathematica Policy Research and as a biostatistician at the Emory University Center on Health Outcomes and Quality. Most recently, Esther was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University.