New Research Fellow
The Poverty Center is delighted to announce that Allison
De Marco is our new external research fellow. Allison is great fit, a natural extension of our research interests and
a bridge to other parts of campus. As
With the Poverty
Center, I hope to highlight the relevant research going on around the University
and State, pursue my research agenda in partnership with center staff, and
engage the next generation of advocates and scholars by hosting interns
from the UNC School of Social Work.
An investigator at the Frank Porter Graham Child
Development Institute and adjunct faculty at the UNC School of Social Work,
Allison’s research focuses on poverty, neighborhood effects, work and family,
child care, and well-being for residents of rural communities. Recently she
has become interested in asset development among low-income communities of
color and has been leading evaluation efforts for a model program in North
Allison earned her PhD in Social Welfare from University
of California, Berkeley, her MSW from the University of Southern California, and
her BA from UCLA. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Family
Research Consortium IV at Penn State University. She’s involved with several
community organizations related to poverty and social justice, including the
Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, Orange County's Project Connect
and Orange County Justice United. She also volunteers with the Organizing
Against Racism Alliance and serves as a field instructor for UNC's Community
Empowerment Fund, a relationship-based asset-development program for low-income
residents of Orange and Durham Counties, North Carolina.
A warm welcome to Allison!
Poverty Center participates in national and regional programs
In other fellow news, the Center’s postdoctoral research fellow, Joe
Polich, traveled to Kansas in July to present at the annual Kansas Association
of Community Action Programs' Conference on
Poverty. Over 400 registrants--social workers, public officials,
program directors, advocates, and others--attended diverse presentations,
a keynote address by Tavis Smiley, and a screening of the documentary “Paycheck
to Paycheck.” (Joe was lucky enough to sit next to the protagonist of the
film during the showing. She’s really nice.)
Joe presented information on concentrated urban poverty in
Kansas, detailed the effects of growing up poor on child development, and described
the High School
Poverty Curriculum developed for the Poverty Center. Kansas, it turns out, is similar to North Carolina in that the southeast corner
of the state is typically viewed as the poor part of the state, in much the same way as eastern North Carolina. Both states, however, have areas
of concentrated poverty hidden within their wealthier urban counties. In Kansas,
pockets of poverty persist in the cities of Topeka, Kansas City and Wichita,
similar to the pockets in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro,
Raleigh and Durham.
The presentation and the curriculum garnered the attention of Elaine
Weiss from the Economic Policy Institute and Shital Shah of the American
Federation of Teachers. Joe is working with Elaine and Shital, as well as
the creator of the poverty curriculum, Brian McDonald, to distribute the
curriculum beyond North Carolina’s borders. For more information on the poverty curriculum, contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center also presented at the NC mayor’s summit on poverty on September
10. The summit, called by Mayor Nancy Vaughan of Greensboro, was attended by the mayors and city council
members across the Triangle and Triad. The
summit was the first in a series of convenings to address poverty in NC’s urban
areas. Joe Polich spoke on “ban the box”
ordinances as a way to support employment for people with criminal records.
Center in the News
In the past few months, Poverty Center staff wrote or were featured in
Director Gene Nichol also appeared in Hungry for Answers, a video on food insecurity produced by WRAL.
Analysis and Commentary
The US Census Bureau recently released national poverty figures from
the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS showed that the poverty rate for the
country, and for most states including North Carolina, was not statistically different from
2012. NC’s poverty rate of 17.9% puts it
at 11th in the nation. The statewide child
poverty rate of 25.2% was also unchanged from the previous year.
Percent of poverty by race, 2013
The statewide median household
income of $45,906 was also statistically unchanged from last year. This amount is 8% less than median household income in 2007 and 13% less than in 2000 (in 2013 real dollars).
Forty NC counties are included in this release. Mecklenburg and Wake had by far the greatest number of
people in poverty, with over 100,000 each. At 29.7%, Robeson County had the highest rate of poverty. In 12 of the 40
counties with available data, more than one in five residents were poor. In 30 out of 40 counties, at least one in five children were poor.
These figures are from the 2013
American Community Survey 1-year estimates, which covers places with more than
65,000 people. Information on smaller places is available from the 3- and 5-year
surveys, which will come out later this fall. Check out the Center’s website for more info in the coming months.
Student Research at the Center
Our vivacious and diligent summer students—research assistants, externs, interns and
others—have departed after delivering insights on a range of projects, from child
poverty and hunger to regulation of for-profit colleges. They interviewed Native American tribal
leaders, food pantry volunteers, housing experts, economists and CEOs. They
researched living wage campaigns, reverse mortgages, car title loans and the effect of the recession
on the wealth gap between white and minority households. They analyzed data to tease out the correlation
between foreclosure and bankruptcy and spent many hours going through
foreclosure files in the Durham courthouse. Working with and getting to know them was a joy and we wish them the
best as they pursue BAs, JDs and other lofty goals.
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