The UC Davis Center for Poverty & Inequality Research
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.
The potential ramifications of food insecurity for the development of children with disabilities are often overlooked in broader policy discussions, despite the fact that such ramifications are likely more significant for these children. In a recent study, I investigated how food insecurity relates to the behavioral outcomes of young school-aged children with disabilities across the first two years of their elementary education. Overall, I found that household food insecurity was related to a significant decline in children’s attentional focus.
In February 2022, the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research
participated in the UC Davis Crowfund
campaign. The goal of our campaign was to fund small
dissertation grants for PhD students studying issues related to
poverty and inequality. Thanks to the generous support of our
donors, we raised $3,500! A huge thank you to those who made
these awards possible.
We briefly describe our grantees and their research below.
Because of large acreages, sparse populations, and distinct sociopolitical dynamics, many rural communities are beginning to assemble their own sets of economic indicators to fit unique policy agendas. In a recent paper, we reviewed over thirty years of practical efforts from six regions that created economic development reports. These reports cover only 60 percent of non-metro counties in the US, with more than half having been issued in the last five years.
Historically, Hispanic families have used means-tested assistance less than high-poverty peers, with anti-immigrant politics and policies potentially acting as a barrier. In a recent study, we documented the participation of Hispanic children in three anti-poverty programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). We compared across age and parental citizenship, and also explored the correlation of participation with state immigrant-based restrictions.
Boston University Public Health Post
June 20, 2022
COVID resulted in greater attention to the role unions can play
in promoting the health of workers and their families.
Blue-collar and essential workers faced the virus every day while
many of their managers and most white-collar workers were able to
work from home. Unions were the vanguard, advocating for the
provision of masks, personal protective equipment, distancing,
clean workplaces, and hazard pay. An unprecedented number of
strikes occurred in the fall of 2021 resulting in what some
labeled “Striketober.” And Christian Smalls, the
leader of the new Amazon Labor Union, stated that, without
management’s indifference to COVID, he would never have tried to
organize his co-workers. While union membership is at a
65-year low (6% in the private sector), public
support for unions is 68%, a 55 year high.
The 2020 Census revealed that 28.4% of the people from Yolo
County have an income below 150% of the poverty level. The
poverty rate in Yolo County is at 20.9%, according to a 2022
press release. Experts and researchers from UC Davis have weighed
in on the rising crisis of poverty in Yolo County, emphasizing
the need for county action.
The goal of this UCOP-funded pilot program on Child Health,
Poverty and Public Policy is to lay the foundation for a UC-wide
network of scholars who are committed to rigorous cross-training
in multiple disciplinary-specific skills and “languages” that are
necessary to produce a comprehensive understanding of the
mechanisms by which health and nutrition programs (e.g.
Although a growing number of studies suggest that providing poor
families with income supplements of as little as $1,000 per
year will improve children’s well-being, many poor children
miss important sources of income support provided through the tax
system because their parents either do not work or do not
file taxes. Accessing assistance through means-tested programs is
Do mothers’ biological responses to stress transfer to her child?
This is a question addressed in a recently published study by
Leah Hibel of UC Davis and Evelyn Mercado of UCLA. Though prior
reports have shown that mothers help their children regulate
distress through calming and soothing, there are few studies that
examine the ways in which a mother facing stress might transmit
stress to her child. This study shows that mothers transmit
stress to their infants and that mothers’ emotions appear to play
a role in this transmission.
Dr. Faheemah N. Mustafaa is an assistant professor of education
and member of the Education and Human Development graduate
groups. She earned a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology and M.A.
in Higher Education at the University of Michigan. Broadly, her
research aims to improve education and well-being outcomes among
youth from historically marginalized communities, with a focus on
racial-ethnic, gender, and economic marginalization.
Robert Faris uses social network analysis to investigate how
health risk behaviors, including bullying, dating violence,
substance use, and delinquency, spread through social ties and
are structured in the social hierarchies of schools.
His recent work shows that adolescents bully their own friends,
as well as schoolmates with whom they share friends, to achieve
higher social status, and examines the moderating role of network
stability in this dynamic.
Rose Kagawa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of
Emergency Medicine. Dr. Kagawa conducts research on violence
prevention and firearm policy and has particular interest in
understanding how social and environmental contexts influence
violence perpetration and victimization through the life course.
Dr. Au’s research involves the assessment of dietary intakes and
the food environment for the prevention of obesity in low-income,
racially diverse infants and children. Her focus is on
understanding how to promote healthier eating and prevent obesity
in federal nutrition assistance programs, such as the Special
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
and the National School Lunch Program.
Noli Brazil received his doctorate in Demography from the
University of California Berkeley in 2013, and is an Assistant
Professor in the Department of Human Ecology. His research and
teaching interests focus on the causes and consequences of
neighborhood inequality. Current research projects include
examining the interactions between neighborhoods and schools,
understanding the determinants of residential mobility and
attainment during young adulthood, and Hispanic US internal
Dr. Falbe’s research focuses on studying programmatic, policy,
and environmental interventions to prevent chronic disease and
reduce health disparities. Dr. Falbe led an evaluation of the
nation’s first soda tax in Berkeley, California. Her research has
also examined primary care nutrition and physical activity
interventions for youth, healthy retail programs, and
multi-sector community interventions to prevent obesity. Dr.
Falbe received a dual doctorate in Nutrition and Epidemiology in
2013 from Harvard University.
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.
Marianne Page is a Professor of Economics and Director
of the Center for Poverty & Inequality Research at UC
Davis. She has authored numerous scholarly articles
focusing on low-income families. A labor economist, she is
an expert on intergenerational mobility and equality of
opportunity in the United States. She has also published on
issues related to the U.S.
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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’s 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’s 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’s 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.
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 is associate professor of education policy. She
evaluates the effects of school, state and national education
programs, policies, and practices on overall student achievement,
and on the equality of student outcomes. Hart’s recent work
has focused on school choice programs, school accountability
policies, early childhood education policies, and effects on
students of exposure to demographically similar teachers.
She is also interested in the effects of virtual schooling on
student outcomes, both in K-12 and post-secondary settings.
Giovanni Peri received his degree in Economics from UC Berkeley
in 1998. His research focuses on the determinants of
international migrations and their impact on labor markets,
productivity, and investments.
1140 Social Sciences & Humanities Building