Jennifer Van Hook

Jennifer Van Hook

Roy C. Buck Professor of Sociology and Demography

Director, Graduate Program in Sociology

706 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 867-2276

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. Ph.D., University of Texas, 1996


Research and Teaching Interests

Immigration (Health and Well-being of Children of Immigrants, Assimilation and Integration of Immigrants; Unauthorized Migration, Indirect Estimation Techniques of Migration Flows); Social Demography; Demographic Techniques; Health

Research Interests

I am interested in demography, immigrant integration, and health.  One part of my work is to use demographic methods to estimate the size, characteristics, and dynamics of the unauthorized foreign-born population. Another part of my work focuses on the health and well-being of immigrants and their children.

Current Research Projects

I am currently working on a project that assesses how children’s contexts—i.e., country of residence, neighborhoods, schools, and families—influence the development of obesity among the children of Mexican immigrants. This work has resulted in a string of publications that demonstrate that moving to the U.S. from Mexico is associated with rapid dietary change and weight gain among children, but that living in an immigrant neighborhood slows down this process.  Additionally, I have been working on a project that seeks to develop new ways to estimate of the size and composition of the unauthorized foreign-born population, and to use these new methods to better understand how unauthorized status impacts the socioeconomic integration and health of unauthorized immigrants and their children.

Penn State Courses

  • Population and Policy Issues (Sociology 023)
  • Event History Analysis (Sociology 577)
  • Sociology of Immigration (Sociology 496)
  • Demographic Techniques (Sociology 573)
  • Immigrant Integration and Inequality (Sociology 525)

Research Grants (Active)

      • National Science Foundation. “Pennsylvania State University Census Research Data Center”
      • National Institutes of Health. “Population Research Institute Infrastructure Support”

      Recent Publications (Since 2010)

      (*graduate student co-author)


      McHale, Susan M., Valarie King, Jennifer Van Hook, and Alan Booth. (Eds.).  2016.  Gender and Couple Relationships. New York: Springer.

      Amato, P. R., Booth, A., McHale, S. M., & Van Hook, J. (Eds.).  2015. Families in an Era of Increasing Inequality: Diverging Destinies. New York: Springer.


      Referred Journal Articles

      Altman, Claire E., Jennifer Van Hook, and Jonathan Gonzalez*.  Forthcoming.  “Becoming Overweight Without Gaining a Pound: Weight Evaluations and the Social Integration of Mexicans in the United States.”  International Migration Review.

      Van Hook, Jennifer, Susana Quiros, Michelle Frisco, and Emnet Fikru.  2016.  “It is Hard to Swim Upstream: Dietary Acculturation among Mexican-origin Children.”  Population Research and Policy Review 35(2): 177-196.

      Dondero, Molly and Jennifer Van Hook.  2016.  “Generational Status, Neighborhood Context, and Mother-Child Resemblance in Dietary Quality in Mexican-origin Families.”  Social Science and Medicine 150: 212-220.

      Altman, Claire E., Jennifer Van Hook, and Marianne Hillemeier.  2016.  “What does self-rated health mean? Changes and variations in the association of obesity with objective and subjective components of self-rated health.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 57(1): 39-58.

      Zhou*, Nan, Charrisa Cheah, Jennifer Van Hook, Darcy A. Thompson, Shelby S. Jones.  2015. “A Cultural Understanding of Chinese Immigrant Mothers' Feeding Practices: A Qualitative Study.”  Appetite 87: 160-167.

      Martin, Molly A., Jennifer Van Hook, and Susana Quiros*.  2015.  “Is Socioeconomic Incorporation Associated with a Healthier Diet? Dietary Patterns among Mexican-origin Children in the United States.”  Social Science and Medicine 147: 20-29.

      Van Hook, Jennifer, James D. Bachmeier, Donna Coffman, and Ofer Harel.  2015. “Can We Spin Straw Into Gold?  An Evaluation of Immigrant Legal Status Imputation Approaches”.  Demography 52(1): 329-354. (PMCID: PMC4318768)

      Van Hook, Jennifer, Susana Quiros*, and Michelle Frisco.  2015.  “The Food Similarity Index:  A Dimension of Dietary Acculturation Based on Dietary Recall Data”.  Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 17(2): 441-449 (PMCID: PMC4378569)

      Bachmeier, James D., Jennifer Van Hook, and Frank D. Bean. 2014. “Can We Measure Immigrants’ Legal Status?  Lessons from Two U.S. Surveys. International Migration Review 48(2), 538-566. (PMCID:PMC4267286)

      Van Hook, Jennifer, Frank D. Bean, James D. Bachmeier, and Catherine Tucker*.  2014.  “Recent Trends in Coverage of the Mexican-Born Population of the United States: Results from Applying Multiple Methods Across Time.”  Demography 51(2): 699-726. (PMCID: PMC24570373)

      Gubernskaya, Zoya, Frank D. Bean, and Jennifer Van Hook.  2013. “(Un)Healthy Immigrant Citizens: Naturalization and Activity Limitations in Older Age”  Journal of Health and Social Behavior 54(4): 427-443. (PMCID:  PMC3969823)

      Van Hook, Jennifer, and James D. Bachmeier.  2013. “How Well Does the American Community Survey Count Naturalized Citizens?” Demographic Research 29(1), 1-32. (PMCID: PMC3783022)

      Van Hook, Jennifer and Claire E. Altman*.  2013.  “Using Discrete-time Event History Fertility Models to Simulate Total Fertility Rates and Other Fertility Measures.”  Population Research and Policy Review 32(4), 585-610. (PMCID: PMC3734869)

      Tucker, Catherine*, and Jennifer Van Hook.  2013.  “Surplus Chinese Men: Demographic Determinants of the Sex Ratio at Marriageable Ages in China.”  Population and Development Review 39(2): 209-230. (PMCID: PMC3734869)

      Van Hook, Jennifer, Claire Altman*, and Kelly Balistreri.  2013.  “Global Patterns in Overweight Among Children and Mothers in Less Developed Countries. Public Health Nutrition 16(4): 573-581. (PMCID: PMC3422412)

      Cheah, Charissa and Jennifer Van Hook. 2012. “Chinese and Korean Immigrants' Early Life Deprivation: An Important Factor for Child Feeding Practices and Children's Body Weight in the United States.”  Social Science and Medicine 74(5): 744–752.  (PMCID: PMC22265872)

      Van Hook, Jennifer, Elizabeth Baker, Claire E. Altman*, and Michelle Frisco. 2012. “Canaries in a Coalmine: Immigration and Obesity among Mexican-origin Children. Social Science and Medicine 74(2): 125–134. (PMCID: PMC3259272)

      Van Hook, Jennifer and Claire Altman*.  2012.  “Competitive Food Sales in Schools and Childhood Obesity: A Longitudinal Study.” Sociology of Education 85(1): 23-39. (PMCID: PMC3352595)

      Glick, Jennifer E. and Jennifer Van Hook.  2011.  “Does a house divided stand? Kinship and continuity of shared living arrangements.”  Journal of Marriage and the Family 73(5): 1149–1164. (PMCID: PMC3258516)

      Scheitle, Chris, Jenn Buher-Kane*, and Jennifer Van Hook. 2011.  “Demographic Imperatives and Religious Markets: Considering the Individual and Interactive Roles of Fertility and Switching in Group Growth.”  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 50(3): 470-482. (PMCID: PMC3267579)

      Balistreri, Kelly Stamper and Jennifer Van Hook.  2011.  “Trajectories of Overweight among US School Children: A focus on social and economic characteristics.” Maternal and Child Health Journal 15(5): 610-619. (PMCID: PMC3193986)

      Landale, Nancy S., Kevin J. A. Thomas, and Jennifer Van Hook.  2011.  “The Living Arrangements of Children of Immigrants.”  The Future of Children 21(1): 43-70. (PMCID: PMC3241619)

      Van Hook, Jennifer and Weiwei Zhang*.  2011. “Who Stays? Who Goes?  Selective Emigration Among the Foreign Born.”  Population Research and Policy Review 30(1): 1-24.  (PMCID: PMC3367327)

      Van Hook, Jennifer and Elizabeth Baker*.  2010.  “Big Boys, Little Girls: Gender, Acculturation, and Weight among Young Children of Immigrants.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 51: 200-214. (PMCID: PMC3245318)

        Research Interests:

        Immigration (Health and Well-being of Children of Immigrants, Assimilation and Integration of Immigrants; Unauthorized Migration, Indirect Estimation Techniques of Migration Flows); Social Demography; Demographic Techniques; Health

        Research Interests:


        International immigration, immigrant health, living arrangements

        Quantitative Methods:

        Event history models, applied demography methods

        Health and Life Course:

        immigrant health, obesity, child health