Sara McLanahan is the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She is the founding director of the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing (CRCW) and the interim director of the Education Research Section (ERS). She is a principal investigator of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and Editor-in-Chief of the Future of Children, a journal dedicated to providing research and analysis to promote effective policies and programs for children.
She is the author of over 200 articles and 7 books including Children of the Great Recession (2016); Fathers Under Fire: The Revolution in Child Support Enforcement (1998); Social Policies for Children (1996); Growing up with a Single Parent (1994); Child Support and Child Wellbeing (1994); Child Support Assurance: Design Issues, Expected Impacts, and Political Barriers, as Seen from Wisconsin (1992); and Single Mothers and Their Children: A New American Dilemma (1986). She received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association Family Section in 2004.
Dr. McLanahan currently serves as chair of the Board of Trustees for the Russell Sage Foundation. She is a Past-President of the Population Association of America and has served on the Boards of the American Sociological Association and the Population Association of America. She also served on the Institute of Medicine Board on Children, Youth, and Families. McLanahan was elected to the American Academy of Political Science in 2005, the National Academy of Sciences in 2011, and the American Philosophical Society in 2016.
Dr. McLanahan earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. She received an honorary degree from Northwestern University in 2016.