Research Topic

Poverty and Inequality

CCFP researchers study the impact of poverty and economic inequality on children, families, and communities. Our teams study and evaluate the effectiveness of programs and policies designed to help low-income families, the day-to-day experiences of working parents and their families, and the impact of living in poverty on children and families. CCFP researchers also study and evaluate efforts that have been successful at disrupting systemic inequities affecting low-wealth families and building on the strengths of communities to improve outcomes for children and families.

Latest Research

Journal Articles

Unconditional Cash and Breastfeeding, Child Care, and Maternal Employment among Families with Young Children Residing in Poverty

This study—the first randomized controlled trial of early childhood poverty reduction in the United States—investigates how increased economic resources affect 1,000 low-income US mothers’ breastfeeding, child-care, and employment practices and the ability to meet their intentions for these practices in the first year of their infant’s life.

learn more about Unconditional Cash and Breastfeeding, Child Care, and Maternal Employment among Families with Young Children Residing in Poverty
Research Brief

Beyond Parental Wealth: Grandparental Wealth and the Transition to Adulthood

Young adulthood encompasses a number of decision points around education, employment, and fertility. To capture this complexity, this study examines how multigenerational wealth is related to four outcomes: college attendance, steady employment, early nonmarital birth, and idleness.

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Research Brief

Impact of Monthly Unconditional Cash on Food Security, Spending, and Consumption

New data from the Baby’s First Years study provide a look at family food security and how families with low incomes allocate additional funds, including spending on food.

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Anna Gassman-Pines

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Lisa Gennetian

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Christina Gibson-Davis

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STEPS: Study of Teen Experiences that Promote Success

This project aims to advance research on the relationship between economic well-being, wealth, adolescent functioning and mental health.

learn more about STEPS: Study of Teen Experiences that Promote Success
learn more about STEPS: Study of Teen Experiences that Promote Success

Net Worth Poverty and Children’s Development

This study examines how net worth poverty – or household’s whose wealth levels fall below one-quarter of the federal poverty line – is associated with children’s cognitive and behavioral development. Most children who are net worth poor are not income poor, meaning that these economically vulnerable group of children have been conventionally overlooked in conversations about poverty.

learn more about Net Worth Poverty and Children’s Development
learn more about Net Worth Poverty and Children’s Development

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

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.

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

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

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.

learn more about Local Criminal Justice Reform Efforts: Effects on Employment, Self-Sufficiency, and Family Well-Being
learn more about Local Criminal Justice Reform Efforts: Effects on Employment, Self-Sufficiency, and Family Well-Being
March 2, 2024
Journal Articles

Monthly Unconditional Income Supplements Starting at Birth: Experiences Among Mothers of Young Children with Low Incomes in the U.S.

Recently, U.S. advocates and funders have supported direct cash transfers for individuals and families as an efficient, immediate, and non-paternalistic path to poverty alleviation. This article address questions and concerns about how such programs are implemented.

learn more about Monthly Unconditional Income Supplements Starting at Birth: Experiences Among Mothers of Young Children with Low Incomes in the U.S.
February 15, 2024
Journal Articles

Family Cash Transfers in Childhood and Birthing Persons and Birth Outcomes Later in Life

Using data from a quasi-random natural experiment of a large family cash transfer among an American Indian tribe in rural North Carolina, this paper examines whether a positive disruption in socioeconomic status during childhood improves birthing person/perinatal outcomes when they become parents themselves.

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October 6, 2023
Journal Articles

Contraception Use and Satisfaction Among Mothers with Low-Income: Evidence from the Baby’s First Years Study

Low income can lead to limited choice of and access to contraception. This study examined whether an unconditional cash transfer (UCT) impacts contraceptive use, including increased satisfaction with and reduced barriers to preferred methods, for individuals with low income. Receipt of monthly UCTs did not impact contraception methods, perceived barriers to use, or satisfaction.

learn more about Contraception Use and Satisfaction Among Mothers with Low-Income: Evidence from the Baby’s First Years Study