The UC Davis Center for Poverty 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.
Parents struggling with food insecurity can experience heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. These pressures may negatively affect their parenting, which may in turn affect the behavior of their children. In this study, we investigated the parenting aggravation levels of parents who experienced food insecurity in the aftermath of the Great Recession. We also explored the extent to which such aggravation may be responsible for the link between food insecurity and children’s behaviors.
The Food Stamp Program (FSP, known since 2008 as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) is one of the largest safety-net programs in the United States. It is especially important for families with children. However, the FSP eligibility of documented immigrants has shifted on multiple occasions in recent decades. When I studied the health outcomes of children in documented immigrant families affected by such shifts between 1996 and 2003, I found that just one extra year of parental eligibility before age 5 improves health outcomes at ages 6-16.
Housing and utility costs consume the majority of monthly incomes for millions of individuals and families in the United States. Missed payments can result in penalties, utility shutoffs, and evictions. Between 14 and 16 percent of the U.S.
In the United States, poverty, incarceration, and race are linked in complex ways, with much evidence that poverty may be both a cause and a consequence of incarceration. Black men are disproportionately more likely than white men to be arrested and incarcerated, a racial gap that first emerged in the early 20th century. In a new study, I explore the historical role played in that gap by education. I find that black men fully exposed to an expansion of rural primary schools between 1913 and 1932 were 1.9 percentage points less likely to be incarcerated later.
A quarter of the world’s population suffer from metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. MetS is particularly common among people of low socioeconomic status (SES). When we examined the relative roles of early-life SES and current SES in explaining MetS risk, we found that low early-life SES contributed to an 83% greater risk of MetS later on.
CPR Faculty Affiliate Cassandra Hart’s work on teacher-student race and academic outcomes featured in the New York Times. From the article:
“When black children had a black teacher between third and fifth grades, boys were significantly less likely to later drop out of high school, and both boys and girls were more likely to attend college….The effect was strongest for children from low-income families.”
Losing a parent is one of the most profound stressors a child can experience; it threatens the child’s safety and causes a heightened state of “fight or flight.” This type of stressor rapidly increases the child’s heart rate and blood pressure. Stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol flood the system. Fear and panic take over. Decades of science suggest that these separations are traumatic and likely to cause lifelong mental and physical health problems.
There’s plenty of financial advice available for people with a little extra money to spend — put more money in your 401(k), create a rainy-day fund, start planning for your child’s college education. But where do you go for tips if you’re struggling to make ends meet?
Ann Huff Stevens of the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research points out that advice often given to the poor tends to miss the mark and doesn’t address some of the root causes that push people into poverty and keep them there.
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 also challenging.
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.
Exclusionary immigration policies have led to a sizeable undocumented population that is largely barred from access to resources in the United States, however there is little research that looks at the impact of legal status on immigrants’ psychological wellbeing.
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 migration.
Brendan Price is an Assistant Professor of Economics at UC Davis. Price completed his PhD in Economics at MIT, where he specialized in labor economics and public finance. His research explores the labor market impacts of technology and trade, the consequences of being laid off, and how public policies can help workers, their families, and their communities recover from job loss. In published and ongoing work, he is analyzing how competition from Chinese imports has affected US workers and firms.
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.
Ann Huff Stevens is Deputy Director of the Center for Poverty Research and Professor of Economics at UC Davis. She studies low income workers and labor markets, the incidence and effects of job loss, connections between economic shocks and health, and poverty and safety-net dynamics.
Her current work examines returns to vocational education programs, the dynamics of EITC eligibility, and long-term effects of labor force non-participation.
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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.
Marianne Page is a Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Poverty 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 worked on various issues related to the U.S. safety net, education, and gender. Her research has appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, and the Journal of Labor Economics.
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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.
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Despite evidence that children from low-income families without two parents are doubly disadvantaged, a growing body of research on the interactive role of childhood family structure for intergenerational mobility finds the opposite—differences in adult attainment by childhood family structure are greatest among those with the most advantaged parents. This study examines: (1) how children’s educational attainment varies by childhood family structure and parental income; and (2) how much these education differences account for lifelong income disparities by childhood family structure.