Lei earned her Ph.D. degree in sociology at the University at Albany-SUNY in 2016. Lei's research and teaching interests include health, family, demography, and urban sociology. She teaches Introduction to Statistics in Sociology, Global Health, Statistical Methods in Sociology II, and Multilevel and Longitudinal Data Analysis.
Her research focuses on social determinants of health, family dynamics, and social inequality in different societies, including China, India, and the US. One line of her research seeks to understand how social factors, such as residential contexts, working conditions, and family dynamics, get under the skin to produce and perpetuate health inequalities. She has published articles examining how neighborhood environments influence educational achievement, children’s health and nutrition, and adults’ health. Currently, she employs longitudinal data from the Indian Human Development Survey to analyze how male outmigration influences the health of left-behind wives and children in India.
Another strand of her research investigates the determinants and consequences of young adults' prolonged dependence on parents. She examines the role of gender, race, class, life-course events, and non-standard employment in determining the timing of home-leaving and home-returning among young adults in the US. More recently, she investigates the impact of coresidence with parents on young adults' demographic behaviors, including residential mobility, romantic relationships, and sexual activities.
To read her recent publications, please visit her Google Scholar page.