In the News


In the News


Obama’s community-college gamble
Washington Post op-ed cites Michal Kurlaender

Washington Post, February 4, 2015

A presidential budget is more than an expression of policy. It’s also an exercise in political brand management. It aims to project the president and his administration favorably. This is certainly true of President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget, whose proposals are cast as instruments of “middle-class economics.” The government is your partner. It will protect your middle-class status — or help you retrieve it, if it’s been lost.

Article Ann Huff Stevens

Minimum wage debate restarts in Sacramento
Center Director, Ann Stevens, is interviewed by News 10

News 10, January 30, 2015

In his State of the City speech Thursday night, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said he wanted to put together a task force to look at raising the minimum wage in the capital city.

Currently, the city’s minimum wage is the same as California’s state minimum wage — $9 per hour. In 2016, it will increase to $10 per hour. But some cities across the nation, such as San Francisco and Seattle, have sought higher minimum wages for their workers.

Image of Fellowships equal careers in fighting poverty

Fellowships equal careers in fighting poverty
UC Davis Today

When our three new undergraduates arrived last January to start their Public Policy Fellowships at the Center for Poverty Research, they had no idea what they were getting into, and only a vague sense of what they would accomplish by summer. All they had was potential and an interest in poverty policy.

Article Michal Kurlaender
Image of Obama’s free college plan is no panacea; just ask California

Obama’s free college plan is no panacea; just ask California
Michal Kurlaender publishes op-ed in the Washington Post

Washington Post, January 28, 2015

President Obama’s proposal to make community colleges free is a valiant effort to address the rising demand for skilled workers throughout the nation and to improve college access for low-income students. As states consider his proposal, they would be wise to look to California. Our research in the state suggests that low tuition can put higher education within reach for many low-income students, but it is no panacea. Even with high participation levels and nearly free community college, many California students do not complete degrees.


Dirty Water Is Leading to Obesity and Diabetes in California
Research by Lucia Kaiser and Caitlin French featured in Vice News

Vice News, January 15, 2015

A lack of access to clean drinking water in rural California farm communities is leading residents to turn to sugary drinks and soda, contributing to obesity and Type 2 diabetes, researchers said in a new policy paper. The report, from the University of California Davis Center for Poverty Research, finds that many agricultural immigrant communities in California’s Central Valley have difficulty obtaining clean, drinkable water.


In California’s Poorest Towns, Tap Water’s Legacy Is Toxic for Latinos
Research by Lucia Kaiser and Caitlin French featured in the Atlantic's CityLab

CityLab, January 14, 2015

Latino Americans suffer from disproportionately high rates of obesity—especially children, who are 51 percent more likely to be obese than their white counterparts. Unhealthy advertising from food companies, a lack of access to safe and adequate recreational areas, and poor snack and beverage options at schools have all been cited as major contributors to this early-life epidemic.


Despite the Statistics, We Haven’t Lost the War on Poverty
Marianne Page and Ann Stevens publish op-ed in TIME

TIME, January 9, 2015

On the face of it, then, the War on Poverty seems to have accomplished nothing. Critics of Johnson’s programs may also add that the War on Poverty resulted in billions of dollars spent on the poor. Why has there been no return on that investment?

The simple answer is that there have been improvements—but the way we measure poverty hasn’t, until recently, accounted for them.


How a million Texas women became constitutionally irrelevant
Faculty Affiliate Lisa Pruitt publishes op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman

Austin American-Statesman, January 7, 2015

The fundamental rights of millions of Texas women are at stake in a case in which the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Wednesday. The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Lakey, will determine the constitutionality of a Texas law that imposes ambulatory surgical center regulations on abortion providers. The judges will essentially decide if women living outside the state’s major metropolitan areas, and who therefore must travel considerable distances to reach the few abortion providers able to comply, are constitutionally relevant.


US economy: will immigration reform help the recovery?
Article features Affiliate Giovanni Peri's research

BBC- November 24, 2014

US President Barack Obama angered many – and pleased few – when he announced plans last week to reform parts of the US immigration system without Congressional approval.

But one potential impact of his plan – the boost it will provide to the US economy – could help sway many Americans who are still primarily concerned with the sluggish pace of the recovery.


A food stamps success story
Article features research from Center Faculty and Graduate Affiliates

PBS- December 10, 2014

It is an understatement to say that the welfare reforms of the 1990s were intended to give a little spring to the social safety net.

The intention was much more radical. The reforms involved a major make-over of income support, and turning what was imagined as a net ensnarling many Americans behind a welfare wall, into a springboard that would incentivize work and allow them to ride a wave of prosperity to higher incomes that would lift their children out of poverty.


Obama’s immigration plan doesn’t grant tech world’s wishes
Article features Affiliate Giovanni Peri's research

SF Gate- November 21, 2014

Economists and analysts disagree on how the visa program affects the U.S. economy.

A strong case for executive action
Faculty affiliates Erin Hamilton op-ed on immigrant families facing deportation

The Houston Chronicle- November 19, 2014

Deported parents face no good solutions to the dilemma of forced separation from their children: Either they remove their children from their country of citizenship, or deportees return to rejoin their children, facing harsh penalties if caught.

Many in Houston regularly face the terrible prospect.


Women, children in poverty subject of discussion today
Center for Poverty Research faculty affiliates articipate in Solano County public discussion

The Vacaville Reporter- November 18, 2014

peakers from Solano County Health and Social Services and UC Davis Center for Poverty Research will discuss the structure of poverty in the United States and Solano County and address ways to approach local resources and services in the community, making them available to women and children.

Post Ann Huff Stevens

Making Do In A Makeshift Economy
Director Ann Huff Stevens discusses the stress of a patchwork income

National Public Radio-Boston, 8/21/14

“When you’re working erratic hours and not getting paid sick time, that level of stress is huge,” said Ann Huff Stevens.

Post Giovanni Peri

H-1B visa limits hamper U.S. economy, study finds
Article features Affiliate Giovanni Peri's research

SF Gate, 6/10/14

Capping the number of visas issued to foreign-born tech workers restricts the number of U.S-born workers that firms could hire – and the Bay Area is feeling the brunt of that impact, according to a new study.

“As the company becomes more productive because of the contributions of these (foreign-born) people and grows, then it will demand more workers – workers who are there (in the U.S.) will participate in the growth of the company,” Peri said Thursday.

Post Victoria Smith Brian Halpin

Low Wage Workers
Affiliates Victoria Smith and Brian Halpin interviewed for their work on low-wage workers

Capital Public Radio, 5/19/14

Low-wage workers know they have to enhance their skills to escape low-wage jobs, but long hours and multiple jobs make skill-building and education nearly impossible, according to a new policy brief released by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis. Joining us to talk more about the research are the authors of the brief, Victoria Smith, a UC Davis professor of sociology and a  faculty affiliate for the Center for Poverty Research, and Brian Halpin, a graduate student in sociology at UC Davis.

Post Ann Huff Stevens

Uncertainty About Jobs Has a Ripple Effect
Director Ann Huff Stevens, cited in article about employment

The New York Times, 5/16/14

THE immediate impact of the recession — widespread buyouts and layoffs — may be fading, but the fear of losing a job hangs over workplaces like a cloud of worry.

“There’s a myth that in the 1950s, everyone was very loyal to companies and companies were very loyal to people,” said Ann Huff Stevens, a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis. “But we always had a contingent work force that could be laid off at any time. They were called women.”

Post Victoria Smith

UCD study cites plight of low-wage workers
Faculty Affiliate Victoria Smith's work cited

The Sacramento Bee, 5/9/14

Low-wage workers wanting to enhance their skills and move into higher-paying jobs are blocked by working long hours and multiple jobs that make skill-building and education nearly impossible, according to a new policy brief released by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis.

In the ongoing study, Victoria Smith, a UCD professor of sociology and a faculty affiliate for the research center, and co-author Brian Halpin, a UCD graduate student in sociology, conducted interviews with 25 low-wage workers in the Napa/Sonoma area in the fall of 2012.

“People find themselves very caught up, just treading water. The fact that they often are supporting other people heightens their need to take extra hours when they can get them,” Smith said.

Post Ann Huff Stevens

Long-term unemployed struggle to find — and keep — jobs
Director Ann Huff Stevens, cited in article about unemployment

The Washington Post, 2/12/14

For the long-term unemployed, finding a job is hard — but keeping one may be even harder.

…Negron’s experience echoed prescient research conducted nearly two decades ago by economist Ann Stevens, now at the University of California at Davis. She looked at data tracking workers from 1968 to 1988 and found that 41 percent who lost their job once were unemployed at least once more during that period. Almost all of the subsequent job losses occurred within five years of the first one.

Stevens’s study did not explore the fate of the long-term unemployed. Still, she found that multiple spells of unemployment depressed workers’ wages by 9 percent even after several years.

“I think of the unemployment issue as another form of inequality,” she said in an interview. “In some sense, it’s the same people experiencing repeated unemployment and repeated job losses.”

Post Ann Huff Stevens

Seesaw Economy: Nearly One in Three Dipped Into Poverty
Director Ann Huff Stevens, quoted in article about U.S. poverty

NBC News, 2/12/14

In America’s new normal, plenty of Americans will tumble into poverty at some point – but few will be stuck there forever.

Nearly one in three Americans experienced a stint of poverty between 2009 and 2011, a new Census Bureau report finds, but only a fraction of those people were stuck below the poverty line for the entire three-year period.

“There’s a lot of movement in and out of poverty,” said Ann Stevens, director of the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis.

Post Ann Huff Stevens

Fool’s Gold: California Has The Highest Poverty Rate In The United States
Director Ann Huff Stevens, quoted in article about the California poverty rate

International Business Times, 1/29/14

California, the state renowned for Beverly Hills mansions, glittery Hollywood stars, Malibu beaches, palm trees, and the stunning Golden Gate Bridge, hides a deep, dark secret – it has the nation’s highest poverty rate.

“Housing costs in Nevada or Florida… are nowhere near this extreme,” said Ann Huff Stevens, director of the Center for Poverty Research at University of California-Davis, in an interview.  “It is important to note that California is a very expensive state, but it is also important to keep in mind that this is the main factor that makes our poverty rate jump from slightly higher than the national average in the official measure to number 1 in the supplemental measures.”

Post Ann Huff Stevens

Some battles being won in war on poverty, economists say
Director Ann Huff Stevens, quoted in article about the War on Poverty

Davis Enterprise, 1/15/14

When President Lyndon Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty” in his State of the Union address, 50 years ago this week, the official poverty rate was 19 percent.

Last year, it stood at 15 percent. And so the war goes on.

What that official measure of poverty fails to capture are other, harder-to-quantify successes, according to Ann Huff Stevens, economics professor and director of the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research.

“Because we now provide a substantial number of low-income families with Medicaid, with health insurance for their children, with food stamp nutrition support, with school lunch, we see improvement in the health of the poor people,” Stevens said.


Insight: 50th Anniversary of the “War On Poverty”
War on Poverty Conference speaker David Frisvold discusses school lunches

Capital Public Radio, 1/10/14

In the 50 years since Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson declared “an unconditional war on poverty,” the United States has gained ground in some areas of the fight and lost in others. Income disparity between rich and poor Americans has increased, while programs like food stamps and unemployment insurance have made a huge difference in reducing poverty rates.

One of the initiatives signed by Johnson during his presidency is the School Breakfast Program. While it isn’t responsible for decreases in poverty, it has successfully fed hungry children and increased learning in poor areas of America. Joining us with an evaluation of the School Breakfast Program is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Iowa David Frisvold, who is speaking at a UC Davis “War on Poverty” conference Thursday.

Post Ann Huff Stevens

Recession led to longer bouts of poverty, Census Bureau says
Director Ann Huff Stevens quoted in this article about poverty spells

Los Angeles Times, 1/8/14

During the tail end of the recession and its aftermath, nearly a third of Americans suffered bouts of poverty lasting two months or more, the U.S. Census Bureau found in a newly released report.

“The fact that someone comes out of poverty for a few months should not lead us to conclude that poverty is not chronic,” said Ann Stevens, director of the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research. Though only 3.5% of Americans were poor throughout the entire period from 2009 to 2011, Stevens said, other research suggests many more bobbed in and out of poverty.


50 years later, the war on poverty is far from over
Director Ann Huff Stevens discusses the War on Poverty

Southern California Public Radio, 1/8/14

50 years ago today, then-President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the war on poverty. This “war” was meant to help the nearly 1 in 5 Americans who were poor.

Half a century later, after the country’s great recession, the number of people living below the line hasn’t gone down by much. That reality is also reflected here, where Californians tend to struggle more than the rest of the country.

For more we’re joined by Ann Huff Stevens, director of the Center for Poverty Research at UC-Davis.

Maine Voices: Letting long-term unemployment benefits expire will cost even more jobs
Visiting Graduate Scholar Caren Arbeit's research cited in this article about Unemployment Insurance

Portland Press Herald, 12/27/13

On Dec. 28, right between Christmas and New Year’s, federal emergency unemployment compensation will expire, taking away the last form of jobless aid available to more than 3,000 long-term unemployed workers here in Maine. By the middle of next year, an additional 9,000 Mainers and their families will be left without any form of jobless assistance.

The Center for Poverty Research found that since 2009, unemployment insurance has been responsible for a 25 percent reduction in poverty among children with an unemployed parent.

Rolling Over the Kid Cliff
Visiting Graduate Scholar Caren Arbeit's research cited in this article about Unemployment Insurance

MSNBC, 12/20/13

Three days after Christmas, 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment insurance benefits after Republicans in Congress choose not to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides jobless benefits beyond the traditional 26 weeks.

Additionally, “a recent study by the Center for Poverty Research found that since 2009, unemployment insurance has been responsible for a 25 percent reduction in poverty among children who have had an unemployed parent.” Now children in similar circumstances will have to endure life below the poverty line.

Post Ann Huff Stevens

CA Surpasses Mississippi, Lousiana as Most Impoverished State
Director Ann Huff Stevens, quoted in article about California poverty

NBC Southern California, 11/8/13

An alternative method of measuring poverty revealed that California is the most impoverished state in the country, with nearly a quarter of its residents living below the poverty line due mostly to housing costs.

Under the study, a household of two adults and two children earning less than about $35,000 would be considered below the poverty line, said Ann Stevens, director for the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis. That number was increased from just over $23,000 used in the official poverty measure in 2012.

“It is almost entirely the cost of housing that is used to make the adjustment,” Stevens said. “It draws attention to the combination of the resources that Californians have and the costs that they face.”

Post Ann Huff Stevens

California has worst poverty in nation when housing costs are considered
Director Ann Huff Stevens is quoted in article about the new Census report on poverty

San Jose Mercury News, 11/7/13

A new way of measuring poverty reveals California has by far the biggest share of people in economic despair, eclipsing states such as Mississippi and Louisiana, when housing and other costs are factored.

The alternative yardstick, known as the supplemental poverty measure, found nearly 2.8 million more people are struggling across the country than the traditional benchmark shows.

“Anyone who has moved to California from somewhere else knows the dramatic increase of the cost of living,” said Ann Stevens, director for the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis. “It’s not more surprising that California looks more impoverished. It is really driven by the cost of housing. California is a very expensive place to live.”

Article Ann Huff Stevens

U.S. poverty rate stuck at 15 percent
Director Ann Huff Stevens is quoted in this article on the recently released Census data

San Jose Mercury News, 9/12/12

“Even if the economy was rebounding, I don’t think the official poverty statistics show it that much,” said Ann Stevens, an economics professor who directs the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research.

Unemployment insurance gives many down-on-their-luck Americans enough income to stay above the poverty line, but Stevens said the official poverty measurements don’t count food stamps, housing assistance and other programs that help people survive but don’t give them cash income.

“They’re likely to be used to say, look, the war on poverty isn’t working,” Stevens said of the latest numbers. “We know these programs do have benefits, they just don’t show up in these basic statistics.”