Junia Howell, PhD


2421 Wesley W. Posvar Hall


Junia Howell is an urban sociologist whose work examines racial and socioeconomic inequality. She received her PhD in sociology from Rice University. By utilizing mix-methods and cross-national comparisons, her work illuminates how cities can be places of possibility for all residents. Currently, she is working on four projects that evaluate how socioeconomic inequality is influenced by neighborhoods, segregation, natural disasters and the housing appraisal industry. Additionally, her work uses Critical Theory to expand and enhance quantitative methodologies. Her research has appeared in Social Forces, Social Problems, The Sociological Quarterly, Urban Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Population and Environment, Sociology Compass, Socius, Context, and Phylon.

Fields of Interest:

Urban Sociology
Race and Ethnicity
Inequality and Mobility
Quantitative Methodology
Transnational Comparisons


  • PhD, Rice University, 2017

1. Residential Neighborhood Effects. A Cross National Exploration of How National Policies Shape Local Places and Their Residents Lives

2. Racial Residential Segregation. An Examination of How Critical Race Theory Introduces Novel Operationalizations of Segregation Indexes

3. Natural Disasters and Inequality. An Investigation Of How Natural Disasters Exacerbate Socioeconomic Inequality.

4. Housing Appraisal Industry. Establishing the Housing Industry’s Role in Perpetuating Racial Inequality and Neighborhood Segregation

Howell, Junia. 2019. “The Truly Advantaged: Examining the Effects of Privileged Places on Educational Attainment.” The Sociological Quarterly. 60(3): 420-438. DOI: 10.1080/00380253.2019.1580546

Howell, Junia and Alannah Caisey. 2019. “What We Need is Education: Differentiating the Mechanisms Contributing to Persistent Racial Inequality of Education.” Phylon: The Clark Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture. 56 (1): 58-80.

Howell, Junia and James R. Elliott. 2019. “Damage Done: The Longitudinal Impacts of Natural Hazards on Wealth Polarization in the United States.” Social Problems. 66(3): 448-467. DOI: 10.1093/socpro/spy016

Howell, Junia. 2019. “The Unstudied Reference Neighborhood: Towards A Critical Theory of Empirical Neighborhood Studies.” Sociology Compass. 13(1): e12649. DOI: 10.1111/soc4.12649

Howell, Junia. 2019. “Neighborhood Effects in Cross-Atlantic Perspective: A Longitudinal Analysis of Impacts on Intergenerational Mobility in the United States and Germany.” Urban Studies. 56(2): 434-451. DOI: 10.1177/0042098018798731

Smiley, Kevin T., Junia Howell, and James R. Elliott. 2018. “Disasters, Local Organizations and Poverty in the United States, 1998 to 2015.” Population and Environment. 40(2): 115-135. DOI: 10.1007/s11111-018-0304-8

Howell, Junia and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn. 2018. “Neighborhoods, Race, and the Twenty-First-Century Housing Appraisal Industry.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. 4(4): 473-490. DOI: 10. 1177/2332649218755178

Race and Ethnicity (SOC 2035)

Race around the World (SOC 1364)

Pittsburgh Area Study (SOC 1277)

Urban Sociology (SOC 0444)

Introduction to Social Statistics (SOC 2201)

2018. “Intersectional Analysis of the City of Pittsburgh,” City of Pittsburgh’s City wide Gender Analysis. $40,000.

2018. “The Role of Local Government in Allegheny County’s Neighborhood Transformation from 1986 to 2018,” University Center for Social and Urban Research. $10,000.

2018. “Determining Value, Defining Worth: How Contemporary Home Appraisals Drive Racial Inequality.” Center on Race and Social Problems Pilot Grant. $10,000.