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West Coast Poverty Center


The central objective of the West Coast Poverty Center is to increase knowledge about causes, consequences and effective policy responses to poverty. The Center supports the production of rigorous, nonpartisan and nonideological research on poverty issues across a broad diversity of disciplines and perspectives, and the application of this research to local, regional and national policy issues.

WCPC Faculty Affiliate Research

WCPC’s group of Faculty Affiliates in Sociology, Social Work, Public Affairs, Economics, Geography, and History forms the multi-disciplinary core of the Center’s research activities. Center affiliates have notable expertise in demographics and population studies; family and gender; studies of human capital, employment, and assets; and the study of spatial and social context. They draw from multiple disciplines and use a variety of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods in their work. For more information about the research of our individual affiliates, click on their individual pages.

Poverty Research FLASH

The Center’s Poverty Research Flash series disseminates research summaries of recent poverty-relevant research by Center Faculty Affiliates, grantees, and others associated with the Center community. The Center also posts interviews with authors on how they became interested in the research topic, the most significant findings in the study, and implications for further research and policy. See our Poverty Research Flash Archive for past issues.

WCPC-Funded Grants and Fellowships

The Center also awards grants for new and continuing research on topics relating to the causes, consequences and effective responses to poverty in the U.S. by scholars nationally and at the University of Washington through its Social Policy Research (SPR) Fellowships, Poverty and Policy Small Grants, Emerging Poverty Scholars Small Grants, and Dissertation Fellowships. Information on past WCPC-funded projects.

DIALOGUES on Research and Policy

The Center’s new Dialogues on Research and Policy projects bring researchers, graduate students and policy practitioners together in a discussion of Center-commissioned research findings and their implications for policy and practice. To date, the Center has funded three projects on food insecurity, ethnic enclaves and health, and the implications of urban/rural designations for understanding poverty.

Research Conferences

The Center also commissions papers on critical poverty issues through major academic conferences. The Center’s 2008 conference, “Old Assumptions, New Realities: Economic Security for Working Families in the 21st Century,” brought leading national policy scholars and prominent policy practitioners to the University of Washington to generate new policies that will promote economic security for today’s working families. Highlights of the conference appeared in our Summer 2009 Poverty Research Flash. The Center’s inaugural conference, “Local Contexts and the Prospects for the Second Generation,” took place in October 2006 and was one of the first multi-disciplinary efforts to address issues of local context in the economic and social progress of second-generation immigrants. Papers from the conference were published in a special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, which was dedicated to the conference papers.