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Steven E. Alvarado

Assistant Professor
PhD 2011, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interest: Social Stratification, Education, Social Demography, Quantitative Methodology, Immigration, Health

(607) 255-6289

336 Uris Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601


Steven Alvarado received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley (2004) and his PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (2011). Currently, Steven is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Cornell University and his primary areas of research and teaching interest are the sociology of education, inequality, health disparities, race and ethnicity, immigration, and quantitative methodology.

The majority of Steven’s previous work has focused on the structural determinants of children’s developmental outcomes. For instance, his dissertation titled, “The Effect of Neighborhood Context on Obesity and Educational Achievement Among Youth,” used restricted panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979 & Children and Young Adults cohorts) to examine the effect of neighborhood disadvantage on cognitive development, non-cognitive development, and obesity among children and adolescents in the United States using within-child fixed effects. Capitalizing on 24 years of longitudinal data, the results from Steven’s dissertation and related work indicate that growing up in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood reduces children’s math and reading test scores and increases their odds of becoming obese. Moreover, the deleterious effects of exposure to neighborhood disadvantage are more pronounced for older children. These findings, for the first time, demonstrate a causal link between neighborhood SES and obesity among children in the U.S., further cement the causal link between neighborhood disadvantage and students’ test scores, and add to the mounting evidence for heterogeneous neighborhood effects across developmental epochs. Expanding on this work on youth outcomes, Steven is currently investigating the long-term effects of exposure to neighborhood disadvantage during childhood on adult social and economic well-being.

A second strand of Steven’s current research uses data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 to investigate racial and ethnic disparities in science and math that emerge at the outset of high school and follow students to college and the labor market. Analyses of these data suggest that black and Latino youth develop attitudes that may limit their long-term engagement in science and math as early as the fall of ninth grade and that science and math enrichment programs may unevenly affect white and black/Latino students’ educational and labor market outcomes.

Currently, Steven teaches three undergraduate-level courses: 1) “Race and Ethnicity in the United States”; 2) “Schooling, Racial Inequality, and Public Policy in America”; and 3) “Social Inequality.” At the graduate-level, Steven teaches a course for Sociology PhD students titled, “Statistics for Sociological Research.” Steven enjoys collaborating with graduate students and also welcomes undergraduates to assist in ongoing research projects.

Recent Courses

SOC 1104
SOC 3570 / LSP 1105
SOC 6010

Race and Ethnicity in the United States
Schooling, Racial Inequality, and Public Policy in America
Statistics for Sociological Research