Vulnerable Families

Image of busses parked in a row in a parking lot

Vulnerable Families

Research on vulnerable children and families has been central to our work since the inception of the Carsey Institute in 2004. Core to the work of the Vulnerable Families Research Program is an understanding of how families are faring economically across the nation, within regions, states, and across rural, suburban, and urban places. We pay particular attention to trends in child poverty rates, social safety net usage, and making work pay. We coordinate with external researchers, policy makers, advocates, and practitioners “on the ground” to ensure that our research is timely and relevant. Our accessible analyses are widely read by legislators and their staff, child and family advocates, practitioners, academics, and the media, and we frequently deliver presentations to a wide range of audiences.


Works in Progress

The Vulnerable Families Research Program’s research centers on the social and economic conditions and policies that impact families and children. Much of our work is documenting trends in poverty and understanding the effects of existing and proposed social policy on safety net programs like food stamps, tax credits and health insurance. Other projects focus on employment, including the role of work in rural families’ lives and the impact of parents’ employment and income on children’s outcomes. Our work considers demographic differences typically exploring how findings vary by place (e.g., rural, suburban, or urban location) and across race/ethnicity.

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Research Experts

Director of Research on Vulnerable Families

Research Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Vulnerable Families Research Scientist

Vulnerable Families Research Scientist

Senior Demographer

Family Demographer

Doctoral Student, Department of Education

Graduate Research Assistant, Vulnerable Families
Graduate Program Assistant, Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise

Research Associate Professor of Sociology, Crimes against Children Research Center
Faculty Fellow

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Faculty Fellow

Research Director, AGree
Senior Fellow