Poverty among U.S. inner cities has remained resistant to public policy prescriptions, especially among African American and Latino minorities. Students who participate in the urban Poverty Policy concentration learn to evaluate the quality of evidence for and against particular public policies as well as learn what kind of tools society and the law provide to vulnerable populations. Geography, Urban Planning, Sociology, and Chicana and Chicano Studies offer related courses. Community research resources include, among others, the RAND Institute , the Weingart Institute  and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation . The UCLA Center for Labor Research  and Education gives students an opportunity to complete a minor in labor and the workplace.
Poverty in the United States remains a serious social problem. After sustained reductions during the 1960s and early 1970s, poverty levels began to rise steadily. This growth has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the extent of concentrated poverty neighborhoods in metropolitan areas, with older central cities now housing a majority of these low-income populations. Even European countries are experiencing the growth of concentrated poverty neighborhoods in metropolitan areas. These trends are cause for serious concern, because poverty neighborhoods have been shown to have a negative influence on the social and economic development of their residents.
Massive federal efforts during the 1960s met with little success in reducing poverty. Many questions remain regarding the causes and consequences of increased poverty on the social and economic well-being of individuals who live in poor neighborhoods. Tremendous uncertainty remains about the mechanisms that cause poverty environments to have such negative influences on the social and economic health of individuals. The impact of poverty on public policy suggests that greater attention be paid to the poverty problem--whether on the federal, state, or local levels--and that new thinking be directed toward the kinds of policies needed to successfully address the poverty problem in the United States.
Urban Poverty Courses Offered by Public Policy Faculty:
PUB PLC 271. Urban Poverty, Workforce Development, and Public Policy
PUB PLC 234. Labor Markets and Social Policy
PUB PLC CM230. Labor Markets and Public Policy
PUB PLC M295. Law and the Poor
Urban Poverty Cross-Listed Courses Offered by Faculty in Social Welfare:
PUB PLC M214. Poverty, the Poor, and Welfare Reform