West Coast Poverty Center

Affiliate News

WCPC affiliate, Ross Matsueda, Blumstein-Jordan Professor of Sociology, CSSS faculty affiliate and founding CSSS associate director (1999-2006), has just been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences. This is the highest academic honor awarded in our state. Many congratulations to Ross!


Research by Maria Rodriguez, a doctoral candidate at UW, is featured in the recently-released Washington State Foreclosure Mapping Report. This report on "Localizing foreclosure's impact in Washington State" offers some answers to the question of what the foreclosure crisis from 2008 to 2013 look like Zip Code by Zip Code in Washington State. Read about it here.Research by former WCPC Social Policy Research Fellow Maria Rodriguez, a UW doctoral candidate, was recently featured in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Region 10 newsletter, HUDlines. Rodriguez's work, as part of the recently-released Washington State Foreclosure Mapping Report, examines the 2008-2013 foreclosure crisis zip code by zip code in Washington State. Read about it here.

New Research

DIALOGUE: Class, Race/Ethnicity, and Military Service in the Recent Wars

In this DIALOGUE, we explore the socioeconomics of recruitment and service in the military. We build on research by Washington State University Associate Professor Alair MacLean that asked whether the men who served during the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan came disproportionately from minority and low-income families. In brief, Dr. MacLean found no evidence that the poor or minorities had been enlisting disproportionately during the recent wars. However, she found that individuals from families at the top of the income distribution were less likely than their peers to enlist in the years immediately following high school, suggesting a de facto “wealth exemption.” The WCPC invited five practitioners and policy experts to discuss Professor MacLean’s work and its implications. The research findings resonated with these practitioners and stimulated further discussion about socioeconomic differences, race/ethnicity, and recruitment issues in the military. Read more about this dialogue here.

Jezebel at the Welfare Office: How Racialized Stereotypes of Poor Women's Reproductive Decisions and Relationships Shape Policy Implementation

In this FLASH, we highlight research from WCPC Faculty Affiliates Taryn Lindhorst and Marcia Meyers and their colleague Tatiana Masters that explores how racialized stereotypes about poor women’s reproductive decisions and relationships are invoked by welfare caseworkers. They argue that these stereotypes are consequential not only in one-on-one interactions during which clients feel stigmatized, but also because they influence the types of policies that are adopted in programs that serve these groups. Read the Flash here


Poverty News

Poverty and Income Inequality Increase in Washington State

After holding steady for two years, new data from the US Census Bureau show that the poverty rate in Washington state rose from 13.5% to 14.1% between 2012 and 2013. The number of Washingtonians living in poverty also rose during that period, from 915,278 people to 967,282.

Most states saw no change in their poverty rates or numbers, but New Jersey and New Mexico joined Washington as the three states with increases in both poverty rates and the number of poor people.

The new data also show that median income in Washington ($58,405) was unchanged from the year before, although a measure of income inequality in the state increased.

"This increase in the poverty rate alongside higher income inequality shows that the economic recovery has not reached many low-income Washingtonians," said Jennifer Romich, WCPC director and associate professor of social work. "The poverty rate is an indicator of how well the most vulnerable do in our economy. The overall national picture suggests that economic growth is failing to reach everyone," Romich said. Read the full WCPC press release about the new income and poverty data here.