About the Center

Our mission

The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality has five objectives: to monitor trends in poverty and inequality, to support scientific analysis of poverty and inequality, to develop evidence-based policy to address and prevent poverty and inequality, to disseminate data and research on poverty and inequality, and to train the next generation of scholars, policy analysts, and policymakers.

The Center's activities are supported by a variety of philanthropic and public funders and by Stanford University, and administrative support for the Center is provided by the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS).

Monitoring trends in poverty and inequality

The Center develops innovative new tools and enhances existing data infrastructure for identifying and measuring trends in poverty and inequality. The data we produce and the monitoring infrastructure we maintain are used by Center researchers and by external individuals and organizations seeking well-grounded and timely poverty and inequality data for research, advocacy, philanthropy, and policymaking.

Supporting science-based approaches to understanding poverty and inequality

The Center's faculty, staff, and affiliates engage in core research on trends in poverty and inequality, the sources of poverty and inequality, the consequences of poverty and inequality, and the effects of policy initiatives on poverty and inequality. The Center also regularly supports the research of postdoctoral scholars and periodically provides research grants and fellowships and sponsors conferences on issues related to poverty and inequality. Collaboration is central to the Center's approach to research, with more than 50 collaborators within and outside Stanford directly involved in current Center research projects and more than 500 affiliates overall.

Developing evidence-based policy

The Center is committed to evaluating and developing public policy relevant to addressing, preventing, and understanding poverty and inequality. We generate evidence-based recommendations for promising policy interventions, and we serve as a research, data, and evaluation partner to organizations in government, philanthropy, and the community working to develop and implement effective policies.

Disseminating data, research, and policy analysis

Research by Center faculty, staff, and affiliates is frequently published in academic journals and presented at research and policy conferences. The Center also publishes research reports and data and policy briefs, as well as periodic State of the Union reports and Pathways Magazine. Our regular e-newsletter includes information about upcoming conferences and events as well as details of the most recent publications by Center researchers and affiliates.

Training the next generation of scholars, policy analysts, and policymakers

The Center sponsors a variety of courses, certifications, and research fellowship programs for students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Our training programs welcome students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including sociology, economics, public policy, psychology, anthropology, computer science, and others, and they incorporate interdisciplinary approaches to research and policy analysis. 


Some of the Center's past initiatives and programs have included the Stanford Poverty and Technology Lab, the Administrative Data Program, an open online course on poverty and inequality, and a Studies in Social Inequality book series.