West Coast Poverty Center

New Research

FLASH: Increasing Child Support Collections from the Hard-to-Collect: Experimental Evidence from Washington State

Child support is often an important source of income for lower-income custodial parents and their children.  While states collect at least some child support in the majority of cases, roughly one-quarter of custodial parents have received no payment at all in recent years.  Working with the Washington State Division of Child Support under a federal grant to promote university partnerships, WCPC Affiliate Robert Plotnick, along with Asaph Glosser, Kathleen Moore, and Emmi Obara, designed experimental tests of two interventions designed to increase the amount and consistency of child support collections. Learn what they found HERE.

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.


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.


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.