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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. Her research has been published in Demography, 

Population Research & Policy Review, Demographic Research, and Population Review.

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



Mara's research investigates drivers of older adult stratification across the life course in three domains: (1) distinct structural and social determinants of health for older Latinos, (2) rising socioeconomic stratification and occupational segregation, and (3) changing family structure and intergenerational support.

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

Mara's research has been published in Demography, 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.

Structural & social determinants of health for older Latinos

Mara uses large scale survey data to document prevalence of disability and cognition within Latino subgroups in the US and explores sources of heterogeneity in health trajectories 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 intergenerational support

Mara looks at the role of family structures and intergenerational support in older adult health outcomes within the US and through a crossnational comparative framework.


Recent Publications

Sheftel, Mara Getz. 2023. "Immigrant wealth stratification and return migration: The case of Mexican immigrants in the US during the 20th Century." Demography. [link to paper]

Sheftel, Mara Getz, Rachel Margolis and Ashton Verdery. 2023. "Health across borders: A crossnational comparison of immigrant health in Europe." Population Research and Policy Review, 42(30). [link to paper]

Sheftel, Mara Getz and Frank W. Heiland. 2023. “The role of place of birth and residence in health disparities: Evidence from disability prevalence among Island- vs. mainland-born Puerto Ricans.” The Journal of Aging and Health. [link to paper]

Sheftel, Mara Getz,  Anne R. Pebley, Noreen Goldman, Boriana Pratt, and Sung S. Park. 2023. “Cognitive health disparities by race, ethnicity and nativity: The role of occupational complexity.” Work, Aging, and Retirement. [link to paper]

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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