Zohra Ansari-Thomas

PhD Candidate in Demography and Sociology

University of Pennsylvania

I am a PhD candidate in Demography and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, an affiliated student with the Max Planck Research School for Population, Health, and Data Science, and an Associate Fellow with the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

My research uses quantitative methods to draw connections between migration, racial stratification, family dynamics, and inequalities in health and socioeconomic well-being. My scholarship falls into three broad categories: 1) the social determinants of health and aging, 2) structures and institutions of aging-related care and their impacts on both care recipients and caregivers, and 3) family dynamics and implications for life trajectories. The aim of my research is to inform social policy and practice to reduce health and socioeconomic inequalities among marginalized groups, and to challenge the social and structural institutions which uphold these inequalities.

My work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Aging and Health, Journal of Family Issues, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Demographic Research, and Contraception.

I am currently working on several projects pertaining to aging and care work, which address gender dynamics in care work, racial and immigrant exclusion in long-term care options, and caregiving provided by aging individuals themselves.

Before starting as a PhD student in the UPenn Population Studies Center, I worked as a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, where my work focused on sexual and reproductive health among immigrants and adolescents, and I completed an MPH in Epidemiology at George Washington University.

My CV can be found here.

Research Interests

  • Population studies

  • Health and aging

  • Care work

  • Families

  • Migration

  • Racial stratification


  • PhD, Demography & Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, 2023 (expected)

  • MPH, Epidemiology, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, 2018

  • BA, Economics & Environmental Studies, Oberlin College, 2014