These briefs are short and informative analyses of our research
relating to poverty policies. Policy Briefs deliver our
cutting-edge research directly to policy makers, researchers, and
stakeholders in an accessible format.
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?
One in five children in the United States is the child of
immigrants. These new Americans, most of whom are U.S. citizens,
are more than twice as likely as children of natives to have no
health insurance. Prior research has shown that differences in
income or employment between native and immigrant parents do not
account for the disparity in coverage.
For an extended period now, U.S. farms have enjoyed an abundance
of workers from Mexico who work for stable or decreasing real
wages. However, since 2008 the overall number of these farm
workers, both these working in the U.S. and those who remain in
Mexico, has shrunk substantially.
Those who come to the United States looking for work compete with
some groups of native-born workers but complement others. Since
wages and the local poverty rate play a part in how many arrive,
it is a challenge to quantify the effect they in turn have on
both, and whether they push native workers below the poverty
Linking income and health has been a notorious challenge for
researchers. With multiple sources of income such as earnings,
cash transfer and near cash transfer programs, it is difficult to
isolate their effects on health. The 1993 expansion to the Earned
Income Tax Credit (EITC), the largest and most recent of federal
expansions to date, provided researchers a unique opportunity.