Immigration & Poverty

Overview

Immigration & Poverty

The Center’s focus on immigration and poverty is motivated by the important role immigrants play in the U.S. economy, and by the Center’s location in the Central Valley of California. Each of our other research areas: Labor Markets and Poverty, the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty, and the Non-traditional Safety Net hold questions that are unique to the immigrant experience.

See below for more information on research projects and other resources related to this topic.

Overview

Research on Immigration and Poverty

The Center’s focus on immigration and poverty is motivated by the important role immigrants play in the U.S. economy, and by the Center’s location in the Central Valley of California. Each of our other research areas: Labor Markets and Poverty, the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty, and the Non-cash Safety Net hold questions that are unique to the immigrant experience.

For example, what is the connection between low skilled workers’ wages, inequality and immigration? How do access and take-up of safety-net programs among immigrant populations differ from native populations? How does the process of immigrant assimilation affect intergenerational mobility?

Our Research Affiliates across a wide range of disciplines are employing both quantitative and qualitative research strategies to shed light on these important questions.

Post Caitlin Patler

From Undocumented to Lawfully Present: Do Changes to Legal Status Impact Psychological Wellbeing among Latino Immigrant Young Adults?
Caitlin Patler (Affiliate in Sociology)

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. 

Research Paper Marianne Page Ann Huff Stevens

Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations
Hilary Hoynes, Marianne Page, and Ann Huff Stevens (Affiliates in Economics)

Over the past 45 years, the United States has experienced a rising standard of living, with real GDP per capita more than doubling between 1959 and 2004. In contrast, living standards among some groups seem to have stagnated. Although a number of studies have documented a correlation between macroeconomic conditions and poverty, the relationship is not as simple, or as strong, as one might think. What additional factors can explain the starkly different trends in economic well-being that are measured by overall GDP growth and the poverty rate?

Research Paper Gail Goodman

Spanish Language Learning Experiences Project
Gail Goodman (Affiliate in Psychology), Susan Hobbs and graduate researcher Jonni Johnson (Psychology)

The number of adults in the U. S. with learning problems range from 3-15% of the general population, and of those with learning problems, approximately 48% are out of the workforce or unemployed (National Institute for Literacy, 1999). Identifying and assessing these individuals is critical so that pre- and postemployment services can be tailored to their learning needs. To this end, Research Affiliate Gail Goodman and the Center for Public Policy Research (CPPR) at UC Davis, is developing a short screening measure for Spanish-speaking adult applicants for the Welfare-to-Work program to determine those at risk for learning problems. The entire project is expected to last approximately three years.

Overview

Policy Briefs on Immigration & Poverty

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. 

Post Sign up for e-news Kevin Gee

Parenting Aggravation Associated with Food Insecurity Impacts Children’s Behavior and Development
By Kevin Gee and Minahil Asim, UC Davis

Child eating cereal

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.

Post Sign up for e-news

Access to Food Stamps Improves Children’s Health and Reduces Medical Spending
By Chloe N. East, University of Colorado Denver

Grocery basket

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.

Policy Brief Sign up for e-news Caitlin Patler

DACA Uncertainty May Undermine its Positive Impact on Wellbeing
By Caitlin Patler, Erin Hamilton and Robin Savinar, UC Davis

Flag and hands

Young, undocumented Latino immigrants face many challenges in the United States. Undocumented Latino youth are less likely to graduate from high school and attend college than native-born youth and are more likely to live in poverty and report clinical levels of depression. Our research examines the impact of changes in legal status related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Latino immigrant young adults in California, with a focus on distress and psychological wellbeing.

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