The Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis is one of three
federally designated centers whose mission is to facilitate
non-partisan academic research on poverty in the
U.S., disseminate this research, and train the next
generation of poverty scholars. Our research agenda
includes four themed areas of focus: labor markets and poverty,
children and intergenerational transmission of poverty, the
non-traditional safety net, and immigration.
In 2010 (the most recent year for which statistics have been
compiled), 46.2 million people in the
United States were in poverty and the nation’s official poverty
rate was 15.1%. This was the fourth consecutive
annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which
poverty estimates have been published.
In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that around 46 million
or one in seven residents lived in poverty. However, the
very term “poverty” continues to evoke debates on what it means
to be poor.
Ideological, political, and methodological tensions make it
extremely challenging to reach a consensus on the most
appropriate way to measure poverty in a given society. So how do
we distinguish between the poor and the non-poor?
The full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) over the
coming years will bring many changes in the level of and process
for access to health care among poor and working class
Americans. In November 2013, the Center for Poverty
Research at the University of California, Davis will host an
interdisciplinary conference focusing on research that provides
insight and background into likely effects of the ACA on low
income individuals and their families. Specific questions
of interest include, but are not limited to:
Dr. Chris Benner is an Associate Professor of Community and
Regional Development, and Chair of the Geography Graduate Group
at the University of California, Davis. His research
focuses on the relationships between technological change,
regional development, and the structure of economic opportunity,
focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work
and employment patterns.
Ann Huff Stevens received her Ph.D. from the University of
Michigan in 1995. Her research interests include the incidence
and effects of job loss, understanding connections between
economic shocks and health, and poverty dynamics.
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Gail Goodman received her degree in Developmental Psychology from
UCLA in 1977. Her areas of research expertise include welfare
recipients, foster care, and the intergenerational transmission
of attachment insecurity.
Hilary Hoynes received her degree in Economics from Stanford
University in 1992. She specializes in the study of poverty,
inequality, and the impacts of government tax and transfer
programs on low income families.
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Leticia Saucedo received her degree, cum laude, from
Harvard Law School in 1996. Her research centers on employment
and immigration law, immigrants in low-wage workplaces and the
structural dynamics affecting their entry.
Lisa Pruitt received her degree from the University of London in
1997. Her areas of research include legal and policy implications
of income inequality along the rural-urban continuum and legal
aspects of declining mobility, with an emphasis on diminishing
access to higher education.
Michal Kurlaender received her degree in Education Policy from
Harvard University in 2005. Her work focuses on education policy
and evaluation, particularly, practices that address existing
racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequality at various stages of
the educational attainment process.
Ross A. Thompson received his degree in Psychology from the
University of Michigan in 1981. His research focuses on the
applications of developmental research to public policy concerns,
including school readiness and its development, early childhood
investments, and early mental health.
Dina Okamoto received her degree in Sociology from the University
of Arizona in 2001. Her poverty related research focuses on
interviews and ethnographic studies of low-income immigrant
families and their adaptation to life in the U.S.
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Ming-Cheng Lo received her degree in Sociology from the
University of Michigan in 1996. Her poverty related research
focuses on low-income immigrants’ healthcare experiences.
On-going projects include research on why different immigrant
groups develop varying coping strategies for inadequate care, how
healthcare challenges gender identities among immigrant women,
and whether children of low-income immigrants, as assimilated
adults, continue to struggle with issues of mistrust in
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Kimberlee Shauman received her degree in Sociology, Population
Demography and Ecology from the University of Michigan in 1997.
Her areas of expertise include social stratification, family and
kinship, demography, sociology of education, and quantitative
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Paul Heckman received his degree in Curriculum and the Study of
Schooling from the University of California, Los Angeles in
1982. His research focuses on the educational ecology of
communities, school restructuring, and school culture, change and
Paul Hastings received his degree from the University of Toronto.
His research focuses on the impact of stressors on child and
adolescent well-being, and the effects of poverty on
physiological reactivity, regulation and development of mental
and physical health problems.
Cassandra Hart earned her degree in Human Development and Social
Policy from Northwestern University in 2011. Her research focuses
on state and national education policies, and school-choice
policies and their effects on student outcomes.
Rand Conger received his degree in Sociology from the University
of Washington in 1976. His research focuses on social and
economic stress; life course development; family interaction
processes; and family research methods.
Poverty is an exam room familiar. From Bellevue Hospital in New
York to the neighborhood health center in Boston where I used to
work, poverty has filtered through many of my interactions with
parents and their children.
WASHINGTON — Why are so many American families trapped in
poverty? Of all the explanations offered by Washington’s
politicians and economists, one seems particularly obvious in the
low-income neighborhoods near the Capitol: because there are so
many parents like Carl Harris and Charlene Hamilton.
For most of their daughters’ childhood, Mr. Harris didn’t come
close to making the minimum wage. His most lucrative job, as a
crack dealer, ended at the age of 24, when he left Washington to
serve two decades in prison, leaving his wife to raise their two
young girls while trying to hold their long-distance marriage