Mara Getz Sheftel is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Population Research Institute at Pennsylvania State University. She works in the Crossnational Aging Research Lab (CARL) with PIs Ashton Verdery and Rachel Margolis (Western University) and is a Visiting Research Collaborator at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University.


Mara is a sociologist and demographer who uses a life course perspective to study new drivers of stratification for aging adults. Mara completed her PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center in 2021

With a background in mentorship and service-learning, Mara is an experienced and enthusiastic educator. 



Mara's research investigates three drivers of older adult stratification across the life course: (1) increasing racial, ethnic, and immigrant status diversity, (2) rising socioeconomic stratification and occupational segregation, and (3) changing family structure and social networks.

She comes to this field with an interdisciplinary background spanning Sociology, Demography, Public Policy and International Studies. Therefore, her research is aimed at informing policies and services to improve population health and functioning for older adults.

Mara's research has been published in Demographic Research and Population Review and presented at the Population Association of America (PAA), American Sociological Association (ASA), and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meetings.

Diversification of the older adult population in the US

Mara uses large scale survey data to document prevalence of disability and cognition within Latino subgroups in the US and explores sources of heterogeneity including selection mechanisms, early life conditions, and immigrant documentation status.

Rising socioeconomic stratification & occupational segregation

Mara looks at the consequences of socioeconomic stratification and occupational segregation across the life course for the health and well-being of older adults, investigating sources of wealth stratification among immigrant population in the US and the long term impact of labor market segregation on older age cognitive  disparities by race/ethnicity and nativity.  

Changing family structure and social networks

Mara looks at the role of family structures and social networks in older adult health outcomes within a crossnational comparative framework.


Select Publications

Sheftel, Mara Getz and Frank W. Heiland. 2018. "Disability Crossover: Is there a Hispanic immigrant health advantage that reverses from working to old age?" Demographic Research 39, 209-250.

Sheftel, Mara Getz and Frank W. Heiland. 2018. Disability prevalence among Hispanic immigrants in the US. N-IUSSP[Internet]. 22 October 2018.

Reed, Holly, Mara Getz Sheftel and Arash Behazin. 2018. Forced Migration and Patterns of Mortality and Morbidity. In Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi and Ellen Percy Kraly (Eds.), Demography of Forced Migration and Refugees. Paris: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population.

Sheftel, Mara Getz. 2017. Prevalence of Disability among Hispanic Immigrant Populations: New Evidence from the American Community Survey. Population Review 56(1), 1-30.

Undergraduate Instruction

Brooklyn College

Introduction to Statistics (Syllabus)

Instructor, Fall 2017 

Applied Research Methods (Syllabus)

Instructor, Spring 2017 & Fall 2017

Introduction to Sociology (Syllabus)

Instructor, Spring 2017

Teaching Assistant to Prof. Ken Gould, Fall 2016

Graduate Instruction

The Graduate Center, CUNY

Multivariate Statistics

Teaching Assistant to Prof. Juan Battle, Spring 2016

Introduction to Statistics

Teaching Assistant to Prof. Jeremy Porter, Fall 2015

Curriculum vitae

Click here to download Mara's CV


msheftel(at)psu(dot)edu               @MaraSheftel

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