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

Policy Brief

Behind the Findings: Policies that Contribute to Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Net Worth Poverty

This brief summarizes the findings from Net Worth Poverty in Child Households by Race and Ethnicity, 1989–2019 in the Journal of Marriage and the Family and offers historical context for U.S. policies that have contributed to racial and ethnic differences in net worth poverty in child households.

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Policy Brief

Improving Access to Critical Nutrition Assistance Programs

Participants of the study pointed to a number of actionable recommendations to increase program participation and enhance the participant experience in the nutrition assistance programs SNAP and WIC: Federal and state WIC programs should strengthen vendor management to improve the shopping experience. State and local agencies should develop peer programs to educate WIC participants on…

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News Release

A Third of U.S. Families Face a Different Kind of Poverty

DURHAM, N.C. – Before the pandemic, one-third of U.S. households with children were already “net worth poor,” lacking enough financial resources to sustain their families for three months at a poverty level, finds new research from Duke University. In 2019, 57 percent of Black families and 50 percent of Latino families with children were poor…

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Policy Brief

Reimagining Policing: How Community-Led Interventions Can Improve Outcomes for Domestic Violence and Mental Health Calls

In response to police killings of Black people and the ensuing protests that took place in communities across the country in 2020, media coverage in North Carolina and in much of the nation this past year has focused heavily on instances of police violence and the protests and counterprotests that have since occurred throughout the…

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Carolyn Barnes

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Anna Gassman-Pines

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Lisa Gennetian

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Christina Gibson-Davis

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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

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

WIC, SNAP and Medicaid Participation in North Carolina

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.

learn more about WIC, SNAP and Medicaid Participation in North Carolina
learn more about WIC, SNAP and Medicaid Participation in North Carolina

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

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).

learn more about Children of Color in the (Southern) Welfare State: How Politics, Poverty, and Social Policy Implementation Shape Child Development in the Rural South
learn more about Children of Color in the (Southern) Welfare State: How Politics, Poverty, and Social Policy Implementation Shape Child Development in the Rural South
May 13, 2022
Reports

Three Reasons Why Providing Cash to Families With Children Is a Sound Policy Investment

This paper, co-authored by Lisa Gennetian, provides three reasons why giving cash to families with low incomes is a sound policy investment for families and children. (It focuses on why cash is important, not which policy option is the optimal mechanism for distributing cash to families.)

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January 24, 2022
Journal Articles

The impact of a poverty reduction intervention on infant brain activity

Data from the Baby’s First Years study, a randomized control trial, show that a predictable, monthly unconditional cash transfer given to low-income families may have a causal impact on infant brain activity.

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January 12, 2022
Journal Articles

Evaluation of a Family Connects Dissemination to Four High-Poverty Rural Counties

Home visiting is a popular approach to improving the health and well-being of families with infants and young children in the United States; but, to date, no home visiting program has achieved population impact for families in rural communities. The current report includes evaluation results from the dissemination of a brief, universal postpartum home visiting program to four high-poverty rural counties.

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September 1, 2021
Journal Articles

Understanding Patterns of Food Insecurity and Family Well-Being Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic Using Daily Surveys

This paper investigates economic and psychological hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic among a diverse sample of socioeconomically disadvantaged parents and their elementary school-aged children. Longitudinal models revealed that food insecurity, negative parent and child mood, and child misbehavior significantly increased when schools closed; only food insecurity and parent depression later decreased.

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