CRCW Research

Poverty and Inequality

Center for Research on Child Wellbeing affiliates are conducting research on the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality and the role of welfare states in these processes.

Michelle DeKlyen, director of the Fragile Families in Urban Essex project, is working with the Association for the Children of New Jersey to develop a children's report card for the City of Newark.  When completed, this will describe trends in child wellbeing and the services available to address community needs.  Among the topics to be addressed are child health and access to health care, violence in families, schools and the community, education and child care, family stability and basic resources, and youth programming. 

Irv Garfinkel, Columbia University, recently completed a book on the U.S. welfare state entitled The American Welfare State: Laggard or Leader? Garfinkel and his colleagues are also using data from the Fragile Families Study to examine income packaging among low-income mothers and the association between parental incarceration and parent and child wellbeing.

Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill, in their work at the Brookings Institution, are researching welfare policies and other federal government interventions aimed at improving the self-sufficiency and economic opportunities of lower-income families. In their recent book Creating an Opportunity Society, they propose programs that improve public education, encourage employment, and reduce non-marital births, all with the aim of equalizing economic potential in America.

Douglas Massey and his colleagues are examining the role of neighborhood environments on economic self-sufficiency and wellbeing. He has looked at historical segregation and the Moving to Opportunity experiment, suggesting that housing locations play a role in perpetuating inequalities.

Sara McLanahan is conducting research on the role of the family in the reproduction of poverty and inequality. She has written several papers linking recent trends in family behavior to declines in parental investments and growing inequality in children’s wellbeing.

Christina Paxson and her colleagues are using data from the Fragile Families Study to examine how parental resources influence both physical and emotional neglect of pre-school-age children. Paxson is also working with colleagues to investigate how a group of low-income parents from New Orleans are coping with the effects of Hurricane Katrina. They are examining the ways in which the pre-hurricane resources and capacities of individuals affected their ability to successfully handle a major life trauma.

Hillard Pouncy is studying child support policy and ways in which to strengthen income security for fragile families. He has pursued this research as Principal Investigator of a study for the Office of Child Support Enforcement and by mentoring Princeton University undergraduates in a task force entitled “Fathers, Child Wellbeing, and Child Support Enforcement.”

Paul Starr is a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and has written extensively on domestic policy. His books include The Social Transformation of American Medicine, The Logic of Health-Care Reform, The Creation of the Media, and most recently, Freedom's Power: The History and Promise of Liberalism. Policies affecting the young have concerned him particularly: see, for example, "A New Deal of Their Own."

CRCW associates have also recently edited The Future of Children journal issues focusing on topics related to poverty and inequality, including "The Next Generation of Anti-Poverty Policies" and "Opportunity in America."

Princeton University