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Poverty Research Centers: FY 2011 Awards

Announcement of Award of Fiscal Year 2011

The Department announced on September 29th $2.4 million in grants to support continued research and evaluation of important and emerging social policy issues associated with the nature, causes, correlates, and effects of income dynamics, poverty, individual and family functioning, and child well-being. The three grantees for the area centers are the University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of California-Davis, and Stanford University.


In June 2011, ASPE announced the availability of funds for the poverty research center program. The announcement continued ASPE's longstanding support of poverty centers. These centers will focus on issues of national significance to further enhance the understanding of the nature, causes, correlates, and effects of poverty, and programs and policies to ameliorate it.

Summary of Fiscal Year 2011 Poverty Research Center Grants

Poverty Research Centers

University of Wisconsin-Madison

This grant will support the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP), whose research agenda will cover three topical themes. The first, Economic Self-Sufficiency, will examine factors affecting employment and wage growth, the role of the work-based safety net in reducing poverty, and the role of financial literacy in self-sufficiency. The second theme, Family Change and Poverty, will focus on the relationship of family complexity to poverty and public policy and on the relationships among child maltreatment, parental income, and subsequent economic outcomes. The third theme, Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty, will examine how poverty and inequality affect children and youth, the social and biological processes behind the intergenerational transmission of poverty, and effective policies and programs to reduce it. Each theme will be examined through an integrated set of research, training, and dissemination activities. IRP will sponsor research, national conferences and workshops, and a related seminar series addressing each theme. The proposal highlights the basic and applied poverty research expertise of IRP'S multidisciplinary faculty and its established infrastructure. IRP will continue its training and mentoring activities for junior and visiting scholars and graduate students, including the Summer Research Workshop, and will expand outreach to undergraduates and to faculty at other institutions. Dissemination activities will include publication of the newsletter Focus, an electronic brief called Fast Focus, a website, podcasts, and the IRP Discussion Paper series. IRP will continue to increase and diversify the corps of poverty researchers, disseminate research to varied audiences, and collaborate with other researchers, government agencies, policymakers, and practitioners.

University of California-Davis

This grant funds the UC Davis Poverty Research Center (UCDPRC). The UCDPRC will be built around a capacity-building research agenda focusing on (a) labor markets & poverty; (b) the non-cash safety net, especially education & health policies; and (c) children & the intergenerational transmission of poverty. The Center will also investigate how each of these priority areas intersect with immigration and poverty. To engage graduate and undergraduate students in studying poverty, UCD will develop a series of undergraduate seminars, a joint graduate-undergraduate course in poverty, and hands-on research training opportunities for graduate students in a number of disciplines. The proposal also includes an extramural grants program. UCDPRC plans a two-pronged dissemination strategy: 1) training and encouraging Center affiliates and students to publicize their research findings broadly, and 2) using direct outreach methods by working with (and expanding on) existing campus-based dissemination methods.

Stanford University

This grant will provide support to the Poverty Research Center at Stanford University specializes in monitoring recent trends in poverty and other distributive outcomes. The program will focus in its first year on measuring and explaining trends in (a) poverty, (b) income inequality, (c) social mobility, (d) educational access and achievement, (e) welfare program usage, and (f) the effects of the recent recession and possible recovery. In each of these research areas, there are major unresolved issues of measurement or data, issues that our research groups in these areas will be taking on. The program will also build a new website hub, http:/, that delivers the trend data and research output of the program. The hub will present research on poverty and inequality trends as well as a graphing utility that allows visitors (e.g., journalists, students, academics) to track key trends by accessing a carefully developed archive of time series. We will further develop two affiliated website hubs, one that focuses more explicitly on the effects of the recession on poverty and inequality (, and another that focuses on poverty, inequality, and welfare use in California ( The output of our core research groups will be publicized via the Center's signature outlet, Pathways Magazine, which we will now be using to feature research from all three ASPE centers. The research groups, each led by a distinguished scholar of poverty and inequality (Michael Hout, Robert Mare, Gary Solon, David Betson, Kathy Edin, Henry Brady, Bruce Owen, C. Matthew Snipp, Sean Reardon), will be joined by postdoctoral fellows appointed by the Center, emerging scholars who are winners of the Center's grant competitions, and Stanford University graduate and undergraduate research fellows. We will seek final approval from Stanford University to establish an affiliated undergraduate minor and honors program in the 2011-12 academic year (from which future undergraduate research fellows will be drawn).