Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy Seminar Series

The Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy thematic seminar series explores how family complexity is linked to poverty, inequality, and public policies designed to serve low-income families. The series serves to concentrate interest and create opportunities for exchange across the broad range of disciplines of affiliates and staff, and it also engages key poverty researchers from other institutions.

We selected this theme because one of the most important demographic changes in family life in the United States over the past 50 years has been an increase in family complexity, owing to high rates of cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, divorce, and repartnering. Particularly notable is an increase in multi-partner fertility, or the proportion of adults who have biological children by more than one partner. These changes and trends in family life are important for understanding both the causes and consequences of poverty.

To explore these issues, IRP invited a group of distinguished scholars working in this area to present in this year-long series. Their work includes research on family formation and dissolution, nonmarital fertility, the efficacy of child welfare interventions, and the difficulties of designing social policy in light of changing family dynamics. Seminar presenters will also consider the challenges in designing and evaluating public policies aimed at shaping family behavior.

This seminar series is part of a major research project that IRP launched in fall 2011, which is designed to enhance understanding of the relationship of family complexity to poverty and public policy. The project extends over a three-year period and encompasses a seminar series, webinar, extramural small grants program for emerging scholars, mentoring workshop, national research and policy conference and volume, and policy and practice briefs.

Thursdays, 12:15-1:30 p.m., 8417 Social Science Building (unless otherwise noted)

September 27, 2012

Low-Income Fathering and Family Complexity in an Era of Rising Inequality
Kevin M. Roy, Associate Professor of Family Science, University of Maryland–College Park
Cosponsored with Center for Demography & Ecology

October 11, 2012

More than Money: Work Characteristics and the Timing of First Marriage
Kelly Raley, Professor and Training Director, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin
Cosponsored with Center for Demography & Ecology

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
12:30–1:45 p.m., 8417 Social Science Building

Down in Flames? Divorce and the Recession in the United States
Philip Cohen, Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland–College Park
Cosponsored with Center for Demography & Ecology

February 21, 2013

Maternal Re-Partnering, Parenting, and Child Well-Being
Lawrence M. Berger, Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Wisconsin–Madison

March 21, 2013

Diverse Educational Pathways: Migrant Children in the United States and Mexico
Jennifer Glick, Director, Center for Population Dynamics, Arizona State University
Cosponsored with Center for Demography & Ecology