Regina S. Baker


Assistant Professor of Sociology

Ph.D., Sociology, Duke University, 2015

Dr. Baker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is also a Research Associate at the Population Studies Center and a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Africana Studies, and the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration. As a sociologist with training in both sociology and social work, Dr. Baker's research is fundamentally concerned with poverty and inequality and seeks to understand the factors that create, maintain, and shape socioeconomic conditions and disparities. She is particularly interested in the role of macro social structures and processes that help shape individual outcomes and thus contribute to broader patterns of inequality. Accordingly, her research focuses two broad areas: 1) poverty and poverty risks, particularly among children and families, and 2) the role of historical and social contexts in understanding inequalities across people and places. Her recent and ongoing work focuses on the following topics: a) the disparate impact of family structure, particularly across racial groups, b) historical structural racism & contemporary racial inequality, c) power resources (e.g., unionization) & inequality, and d) a holistic approach to socioeconomic origin & its impact on intergenerational mobility. As a native Georgian, Dr. Baker takes great interest in the South, which she argues is a useful site for sociological inquiry, specifically the examination of social problems such as persistent poverty and racial inequality. Overall, her work intersects the areas of inequality & stratification, family, race, gender, historical sociology, and political sociology. Her research has been featured in prestigious outlets including Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Forces, and Social Problems, and has been supported by the American Sociological Association (ASA), the Ford Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation and Gates Foundation. Dr. Baker is also a former ASA Minority Fellow and Ford Dissertation Fellow. 


  • Penn Arts and Sciences In These Times: Regina S. Baker discusses Dimensions of the Covid-19 Crisis (Episode 1)
  • Institute for Research on Poverty: Regina S. Baker on The Legacy of Slavery and the Impact of Family Structure on Black-White Inequality in Poverty
  • Penn NSOAI Racism & Anti-Racism in Contemporary America: Regina S. Baker discusses The Economic System- Income & Wealth Disparities