Office on Socioeconomic Status Resources and Publications

Office on Socioeconomic Status Resources and Publications

A specific charge of the Office on Socioeconomic Status is to develop and facilitate relationships and activities to advance psychology as a major force in research, policy and advocacy related to SES. One way to fulfill this charge is to collect and distribute SES-related information through the development and maintenance of an online resource guide. OSES has compiled journal articles, relevant websites, upcoming events, fact sheets and other publications that address socioeconomic status, mental and physical health, children, education and related topics. We are open to additions, comments and foresee its growth in the future. 

To report inactive links, suggest a resource and/or for questions/concerns, please email Keyona King-Tsikata.

Health Disparities Initiative

Learn about those who are affected by health disparities, including those affected by low socioeconomic status, and APA's Health Disparities Initiative.

  • Health Disparities Initiative
    The purpose of the Health Disparities Initiative is to increase support for research and interventions that improve health and reduce health disparities among underserved and vulnerable populations.
  • Psychology Topics: Health Disparities
    Get more information on the specific populations affected and how psychologists are working to reduce health disparities. 
  • Health Disparities Fact Sheet
    Defines health disparity, which includes a link between social and economic disadvantages and health outcomes.

Get Connected

E-newsletter of the Public Interest Office of Socioeconomic Status.

SES Indicator

E-newsletter of the Public Interest Office of Socioeconomic Status.
SES Network and Email List

SES Network and Email List

The SES Network and Email List provides a platform to share information and ideas; raise questions; and identify critical problems and issues related to socioeconomic status with representatives of various divisions, state associations, committee members, APA staff and other groups.

Email us to get connected.

Focus Areas


APA Reports

  • Report of the Task Force on Urban Psychology (PDF, 675.5KB)
    This report provides an examination of critical urban issues for psychology, summarizes the state of scientific research related to urban issues, and offers an agenda for action in urban psychology.

  • Report of the APA Task Force on Socioeconomic Status (PDF, 517KB)
    This report examines the psychological effects and scope of socioeconomic inequities in the United States and provides a series of recommendations on how APA can help better address these inequities.

Fact Sheets

External Links

  • Rand Corporation – Socioeconomic Status
    RAND research on population and aging analyzes demographic and immigration trends and explores a range of concerns, from family planning to religion to discrimination. RAND also addresses vulnerable populations — such as the elderly and the poor — analyzing retirement and other aspects of financial decision-making, welfare and end-of-life issues.

  • Institute on Social Exclusion – Adler School of Professional Psychology
    “Seeks to analyze the ways in which structural features of society condition human welfare, stimulate public dialogue on the underlying causes of disadvantage and on possible solutions, and engage in practical work that sheds light on and addresses social marginalization" [from website]

  • Pew Charitable Trust – Economic Mobility Project
    Pew's Economic Mobility Project focuses public attention on economic mobility — the ability to move up or down the income ladder within a lifetime, or from one generation to the next. By forging a broad and nonpartisan agreement on the facts, figures and trends in mobility, the project is generating an active policy debate about how best to improve economic opportunity in the United States and to ensure that the American Dream is kept alive for generations that follow.

  • National Poverty Center, University of Michigan – Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996 to 2011 (PDF, 163KB)



  • The official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent — up from 14.3 percent in 2009. This was the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. The poverty rate in 2010 was the highest poverty rate since 1993 but was 7.3 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available.

  • Since 2007, the poverty rate has increased by 2.6 percentage points, from 12.5 percent to 15.1 percent.

  • In 2010, 46.2 million people lived in poverty, up from 43.6 million in 2009, and that wasthe fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people living in poverty. 
    The number of people living in poverty in 2010 was the largest in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.

  • In 2010, the poverty threshold, or poverty line, was $22,314 for a family of four. Over 15 percent of the population fell below this threshold in 2010.

  • The percentage of people in deep poverty was 13.5 percent of all African-American and 10.9 percent of all Hispanics, compared to 5.8 percent of Asians and 4.3 percent of Whites.

  • While non-Hispanic Whites still constitute the largest single group of Americans living in poverty, ethnic minority groups are overrepresented (27.4 percent African American; 28.4 percent American Indian and Alaskan Native; 26.6 percent Hispanic, and 12.1 percent Asian and Pacific Islander compared with 9.9 percent non-Hispanic White).

External Sites

  • United States Census Bureau – Poverty 
    The Census Bureau reports poverty data from several major household surveys and programs. The Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) is the source of official national poverty estimates. The American Community Survey (ACS) provides single and multi-year estimates for smaller areas. The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) provides longitudinal estimates. The Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program provides model-based poverty estimates for counties and school districts. See Description of Income and Poverty Data Sources to determine which survey or program meets your specific needs.

  • Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP) – How We Measure Poverty
    Overview of the different U.S. federal policy poverty measures: poverty thresholds and poverty guidelines.

  • United States Dept of Health & Human Services (HHS) – FAQs: Poverty Guidelines and Poverty

  • The National Academies – Measuring Poverty: A New Approach (1995)
    The volume explores specific issues underlying the poverty measure, analyzes the likely effects of any changes on poverty rates, and discusses the impact on eligibility for public benefits. In supporting its recommendations the panel provides insightful recognition of the political and social dimensions of this key economic indicator. Measuring Poverty will be important to government officials, policy analysts, statisticians, economists, researchers, and others involved in virtually all poverty and social welfare issues.

  • Spotlight on Poverty 
    A non-partisan initiative that brings together diverse perspectives from the political, policy, advocacy, and foundation communities to find genuine solutions to the economic hardship confronting millions of Americans. Through the ongoing exchange of ideas, research, and data, Spotlight seems to inform the policy debate about reducing poverty and increasing opportunity in the United States.

  • Urban Institute – Poverty and the Safety Net 
    Urban Institute, a non-partisan economic and social policy research group, builds on decades of welfare reform research, evaluates public safety nets and proposes new initiatives to bolster work supports and help families gain a stable financial footing.

  • Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison 
    IRP is a center for interdisciplinary research into the causes and consequences of poverty and social inequality in the United States. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan. It is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Center for Poverty Research, University of California-Davis 
    CPR focuses on facilitating research using a diverse set of approaches across academic disciplines to answer critical questions about poverty and its solutions. The Center engages faculty research affiliates in the departments of Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Agricultural Economics, Human and Community Development, Chicano Studies, and the Schools of Education, Engineering, and Law. 

  • Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality, Stanford University 
    The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), one of three National Poverty Centers, is a nonpartisan research center dedicated to monitoring trends in poverty and inequality, explaining what's driving those trends, and developing science-based policy on poverty and inequality. CPI supports research by new and established scholars, trains the next generation of scholars and policy analysts, and disseminates the very best research on poverty and inequality.


U.S. Census Bureau (September 2011). Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2010. (PDF, 2.31MB)


Fact Sheet


  • U.S. Census data reveals that from 2009 to 2010, the total number of children under the age of 18 years old living in poverty increased to 16.4 million from 15.5 million. Child poverty rose from 20.7 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2010. This is the highest it has ever been since 1993.

  • Racial and ethnic disparities in poverty rates persist among children. The poverty rate for African-American children was 38.2 percent, 32.3 percent for Hispanic children, 17 percent for non-Hispanic White children, and 13 percent for Asian children.

  • According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 17.2 million children living in the United States have a foreign-born parent, and 4.2 million children of immigrant parents are poor. It is reported that child poverty in immigrant families in more closely related to low-wage work and barriers to valuable work support.

  • In 2010, approximately 24 percent of the 75 million children under the age of 18 years old live in a single-mother household. The poverty rate for children in female-householder families (no spouse present) was 42.2 percent in 2010; 7 in 10 children living with a single mother are poor or low-income, compared to less than a third (32 percent) of children living in other types of families.

  • In 2010, the uninsured rate for children in poverty (15.4 percent) was greater than the rate for all children in the United States (9.8 percent).

External Sites

  • Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness (ICPH) 
    ICPH focuses its research on homeless families, as well as those living in extreme poverty, examining the demographics of this growing population, the challenges these families face in becoming self-sufficient, and the programs that are most effective in helping them transition out of poverty. Provides reports, briefs and media on several sub-topics: education, housing, health, domestic violence, shelters, employment, family and children.

  • National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) 
    Affiliated with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, NCCP is the nation’s leading public policy center dedicated to promoting the economic security, health and well-being of America’s low-income families and children. NCCP uses research to inform policy and practice with the goal of ensuring positive outcomes for the next generation. We promote family-oriented solutions at the state and national levels.

  • Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
    The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Forum) is a collection of 22 Federal government agencies involved in research and activities related to children and families. The Forum was founded in 1994 and formally established in April 1997 under Executive Order No. 13045. The mission of the Forum is to foster coordination and collaboration and to enhance and improve consistency in the collection and reporting of Federal data on children and families. The Forum also aims to improve the reporting and dissemination of information on the status of children and families. The Forum's annual report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, provides the Nation with a summary of national indicators of child well-being and monitors changes in these indicators over time.


America’s Children – Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011, via US Census Bureau

National Center for Children in Poverty 

U.S. Census Bureau (September 2011). Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2010. (PDF, 2.30MB)


APA Report

Fact Sheets


  • On a given night in January 2010, over 407,966 individuals were homeless (in shelters, transitional housing programs, or on the streets); 109,812 individuals were chronically homeless; 241,951 individuals in families were homeless (in shelters, transitional housing programs or on the streets).

  • Unaccompanied youth composed 1.1 percent of sheltered adult popul. on any given night in January 2010.

  • On any given evening in January 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), 26.2 percent of all sheltered persons who were homeless “had a severe mental illness” and 34.7 percent experienced chronic substance use issues.

External Links


“Current Statistics on the Prevalence and Characteristics of People Experiencing Homelessness in the United States”, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). July 2011.


APA Health Links

Fact Sheets

External Sites


APA Report

Fact Sheet

External Sites

Further Reading
  • Collier, P. (2008). The bottom billion: Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

  • Diamond, J. (2005). Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

  • Espenshade, T.J., Radford, A.W. (2009). No longer separate, not yet equal: Race and class in elite college admission and campus life. (1st ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Lott, B and Bullock, H.E. (2007). Psychology and economic injustice: Personal, professional, and political intersections. (1st ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association

  • Institute of Medicine. (2003). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

  • Pickett, K., Wilkinson, R. (2009). The spirit level: Why greater equality makes societies stronger.  New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press.

  • Sachs, J. (2005). The end of poverty: Economic possibilities for our time. New York, NY: The Penguin Press.

  • Smith, L. (2010). Psychology, poverty and the end of social exclusion. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.