Research Projects

Poverty and Inequality

Current Projects

Intergenerational Persistence of Treatment Effects

September 2017 - August 2022

Many childhood interventions target low-income and high-risk children, with evidence that some early interventions improve adult health and wellbeing. This study asks whether children who benefit from early interventions grow up to become better parents and, subsequently, have children who experience fewer health problems, educational challenges, and emotional problems.

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Children of Color in the (Southern) Welfare State: How Politics, Poverty, and Social Policy Implementation Shape Child Development in the Rural South

July 2019 - July 2024

Thia study draws from quantitative and ethnographic data across three rural counties to examine how the distinct features of rural southern communities inform organizational practices of public welfare agencies in ways that reinforce racial inequality and negatively influences family processes and adolescent development outcomes. This study examines how rural contexts shape access to four prominent safety net programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Child Care Subsidy, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

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Baby’s First Years Study

August 2019 - August 2040

Baby’s First Years is a pathbreaking study of the causal impact of monthly, unconditional cash gifts to low-income mothers and their children in the first three years of the child’s life. The cash gifts are funded through charitable foundations. The study will identify whether reducing poverty can affect early childhood development and the family processes that support children’s development.

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Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Economic and Psychological Well-Being of Hourly Service Workers and their Families

September 2019 - June 2022

Around 1,000 hourly service workers with young children in a large US city were sampled with an initial focus on work schedule unpredictability and worker and family well-being. The data collection then shifted with the emergence of COVID-19 to reflect pandemic-related concerns such as food insecurity, job loss, income, and access to pandemic-specific and broader social safety net policy supports.

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Poverty and Economic Self Sufficiency Among Hispanic Families with Children

September 2019 - September 2023

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families is a collaboration between Child Trends and three university based research partners and serves as a hub of research-based information on low-income Hispanic children and families.

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Local Criminal Justice Reform Efforts: Effects on Employment, Self-Sufficiency, and Family Well-Being

December 2019 - December 2024

This study is evaluating a local program in Durham, NC, that waives the fees of those who have a suspended license due to failure to pay, in order to discover how reinstating drivers’ licenses can reduce barriers to employment and self-sufficiency.

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WIC, SNAP and Medicaid Participation in North Carolina

May 2020 - May 2022

Investigate the barriers and facilitators of applying for, receiving, and redeeming safety net program benefits, including the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in North Carolina. Including before and during COVID-19.

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Examining Medicaid and the Nutrition Program for Women and Children to Understand How to Design Social Policy to Achieve Health Equity

September 2020 - September 2022

This research will provide an in-depth view of variation in state-level policy rules and program administration across WIC and Medicaid in three states and illuminate the consequences for policy beneficiaries’ ability to access benefits, engage with programs, and function as democratic citizens.

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Past Projects