Current research focuses on gender, race and class inequalities in education in the United States and internationally, with a particular focus on the growing female advantage in college completion. Prior research includes cross-national and comparative studies of the impact of economic policies and institutional forces on educational outcomes and social well-being and case studies of stratification and mobility in Africa. She has served as deputy editor of the American Sociological Review and chair of the Sociology of Education Section of the American Sociological Association.
As a sociologist of stratification, I have long been interested in who gets ahead in society and who falls behind. I have found the educational system to be a very interesting institution to focus on in order to answer this question. In the past decade much of my research has examined gender, race and class inequalities in higher education with the specific goal of figuring out why women have come to be the majority of college degree holders in both the U.S. and other industrialized countries. I am also a proponent of comparative and international research because I believe a comparative lens can provide fresh insights to longstanding sociological questions and refine and expand existing theories. A theme that unites my varied research projects is a concern for the intersection of institutional and ecological factors with family- and individual-level processes in determining social inequalities.
Industry Expertise (1)
Areas of Expertise (5)
Race and Ethnicity
Comparative and International Sociology
Joan N. Huber Faculty Fellow, Social and Behavioral Sciences (professional)
2015-2018 The Ohio State University
Otis Dudley Duncan Book Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Social Demography (professional)
2015 American Sociological Association Section on Sociology of Population for The Rise of Women
American Sociological Association Section on Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility Book Award (professional)
2015 Awarded for "The Rise of Women."
IPUMS Research Award (professional)
Outstanding Faculty Member Award (professional)
2008 - 2009 Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University
Indiana University: Ph.D., Sociology and African Studies 1996
Dissertation: “Family Decisions and Social Constraints: The Determinants of Educational Inequality in Contemporary Kenya.”
Indiana University: M.A., Sociology 1992
University of Wisconsin: B.A., Psychology & German 1989
Media Appearances (5)
When it comes to English, girls still rule big-time
Los Angeles Daily News online
But images of masculinity that downplay educational achievement may be to blame, especially among lower-income students, according to Claudia Buchmann, an Ohio State sociology professor specializing in gender and education research. “I would argue that a lot of these patterns go beyond schools and how kids are taught,” she said. “The real issue is a culture where some boys have come to equate doing well in school as a feminine pursuit.”
For students, the overlooked test score gap that isn’t closing
For decades, the standardized test scores of California students have shown that achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity and class—while troubling—tended to narrow over time. And an alarming gender discrepancy that once showed girls testing significantly behind boys in math has actually vanished. But while the state’s newly released 2016 scores show small improvements overall compared to last year’s results, one largely overlooked gap persists. In virtually every major school district in the state, boys continue to score lower than girls in English. That gender gap is not only dramatic; it actually increased slightly from last year. But images of masculinity that downplay educational achievement may be to blame, especially among lower-income students, according to Claudia Buchmann, an Ohio State sociology professor specializing in gender and education research. “I would argue that a lot of these patterns go beyond schools and how kids are taught,” she said. “The real issue is a culture where some boys have come to equate doing well in school as a feminine pursuit.”
Bridging the male education gap
The Los Angeles Times print
In the ongoing discussion of how to boost the education and skill levels of the American workforce, one central issue is rarely addressed: the gap between male and female achievement. The reality is that the slowdown in U.S. educational gains is predominantly a male affair, and one that drags down the overall competitiveness of our workforce and workers' ability to land (or create) good jobs. To get more Americans working and set economic growth back on track, we need to understand what's going on with men in education. Despite rising college costs and the many other challenges facing America's schools, women have made extraordinary strides in education. They have overtaken men in high school and college completion in the last few decades, earning 58% of bachelor's degrees and 62% of postsecondary occupational certificates.
Dr. Claudia Buchmann, Ohio State University – Higher Education Gender Gap
Northeast Public Radio online
In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Claudia Buchmann of Ohio State University explains the growing gender gap that exists on college campuses.
A New Book That (Finally) Tells the Truth About the Rise of Women
The Atlantic online
The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What it Means for American Schools is both ambitious and modest in its goals: Sociologists Thomas DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann provide an ambitious analysis of why and how girls are outperforming boys in high school and going on to get a disproportionate share of college degrees. However, the authors modestly remain within their subject matter and avoid the unsupported claims about women's looming social dominance that have inflated much of the conversation about gender dynamics today.
Recent Research (2)
When it comes to college education, men are falling behind by standing still. The proportion of men receiving college degrees has stagnated, while women have thrived under the new economic and social realities in the United States and elsewhere, according to two sociologists who have written a new book on the subject. “The world has changed around boys, and they have not adapted as well as girls,” said Claudia Buchmann, a professor of sociology at Ohio State University and co-author of The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What it Means for American Schools (Russell Sage Foundation, 2013).
White students generally increased their number of interracial friendships during their first year of college, while black students showed a slight decrease, according to a study at one highly selective private university. Results showed that students were particularly likely to develop more interracial friendships if they were paired with a residence-hall roommate of a different race. But white students who joined fraternities or sororities didn't increase their number of friends of other races during their first college year. Overall, the results support the validity of the saying that "birds of a feather flock together," said Claudia Buchmann, co-author of the study and associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University. "White and black students tend to have the majority of friends of the same race," she said.