The Center for Poverty Research facilitates research using a
diverse set of approaches across academic disciplines to answer
critical questions about poverty and its solutions. The
Center engages faculty research affiliates in the departments of
Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Agricultural
Economics, Human and Community Development, Chicano Studies, and
the Schools of Education, Engineering and Law.
Understanding poverty, shaping the future of poverty
The Center was established in 2011 with core funding from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of three
federally designated Poverty Research Centers whose mission is to
facilitate non-partisan academic research in the United
The Center has four primary poverty-related research
Labor Markets and Poverty
The Non-cash Safety Net (including education and health
Children and Intergenerational Mobility
Immigration and Poverty
State-of-the-art interdisciplinary research and training
Conferences and seminars featuring renowned poverty scholars
Dissemination activities that bring Center research studies
to the widest possible audience of policy-makers and stakeholders
at state and national levels
Visiting scholar and visiting graduate student programs
designed to expand the network of poverty researchers beyond the
UC Davis campus
An extramural grant program aimed at mentoring a new
generation of scholars
An interdisciplinary course on Poverty and Public
Policy for graduate students and advanced undergraduates
The Center is located at UC Davis and is led by a director,
deputy director, and executive committee consisting of UC Davis
faculty, along with a national advisory board consisting of
nationally known poverty scholars. Three staff positions
support the Center, a manager, a program assistant and a
Funding for our research projects between September 2011 and
September 2016 were made possible by the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS). All projects funded by the
Center for Poverty Research during that period should
include the following language:
“Funding for this project was made possible in part by grant
number 1H79AE000100-1 to the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research
from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of
the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Analysis (ASPE), which
was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA). The views expressed are those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policies of
the Department of Health and Human Services.”
The University of California, Davis, will join a select group of
institutions studying a topic that is a dreadful reality to
millions of Americans.
UC Davis has received a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services to establish a Center for Poverty
Research. It will be one of three U.S. centers designated to
study the causes and effects of policies aimed at addressing
poverty in the United States. The other centers are at Stanford
University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The official poverty rate is 11.6 percent, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for 2021. That year, an estimated 37.9 million Americans lived in poverty according to the official measure. Neither the rate nor the number differed significantly from 2020. According to the supplemental poverty measure, the poverty rate was 7.8 percent.
The U.S. Census Bureau defines “deep poverty” as living in a
household with a total cash income below 50 percent of its
poverty threshold. According to the Census
Bureau, 20.03 million people lived in deep poverty in
2021. Those in deep poverty represented 6.2 percent of the
total population and 48.4 percent of those in poverty.
Un salario mínimo es el salario más bajo que empleadores pueden
legalmente pagar a su empleados. La primer ley del salario mínimo
fue promulgada en 1894 en Nueva Zelandia.
Al aprobar del Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), el
salario mínimo en Estados Unidos fue inicialmente establecida a
$0.25 por hora para trabajadores cubierto. Desde entonces, se
aumentó 22 veces—recientemente, en julio del 2009, a $7.25 por
En 2013, 45.3 millones de personas eran pobres. La mayoría de
estas personas que viven debajo del índice federal de la pobreza
no trabajan. Según los datos del Bureau of Labor Statistics, solo
10.5 millones o 23 por ciento de los pobres eran “trabajadores
Desde que fue instituido en 1938, el salario mínimo federal ha
establecido un piso mínimo para salarios. Aunque no todos los
trabajadores son elegibles, ofrece un mínimo de ingresos para los
trabajadores que son menos pagados.
A minimum wage is the lowest wage that employers may legally pay
to workers. The first minimum wage law was enacted in 1894 in New
With the passage of The
Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), the U.S.
minimum wage was initially set at $0.25 per hour for covered
workers. Since then, it has been raised 22 separate
times–most recently, in July 2009, to $7.25 an hour.
FSLA provided a number of federal protections for the first time
The U.S.D.A.’s Economic Research Service monitors the extent and
severity of food insecurity in U.S. households through a
supplement to the Current Population Survey. Responses to a
series of 18 questions are used to determine whether a household
is food insecure.
The official poverty statistics do not track individuals or
households over time so there are no official data on poverty
Despite the lack of official data, other surveys do provide the
ability to track poverty status over time. Two recent studies
have used differing data sources and methods to provide some
insight into the characteristics of poverty spells.
In 2014, about 1.3 million U.S. workers age 16 and over earned
exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Another 1.7 million had wages below the federal
minimum. Together these workers make up 4 percent of all
hourly paid workers.
The “working poor” are people who spend 27 weeks or more in a
year in the labor force either working or looking for work but
whose incomes fall below the poverty
level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
about 9.5 million of people who spent at least 27 weeks in the
labor force were poor. That year, the working poor comprised 6.3
percent of all individuals in the labor force.
In 2015, poverty rates across the four Census geographic regions
ranged from 11.7 percent in the Midwest, 12.4 percent in the
Northeast, 13.3 percent in the West and 15.3 percent in the
South. Because of the South’s largest share of the total U.S.
population, it has the largest number of people who live in
poverty compared to any other region.