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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Bernstein, Hamutal; DuBois, Nicole
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    There is a major disconnect between the current policy debate and the reality of refugee outcomes in the US. After a tumultuous year of policy changes for the refugee resettlement program and as refugees are being framed as security, economic, and cultural threats, policymakers must consider the evidence base on the realities of refugees and their local communities.

    Today’s policy debates are not grounded in the evidence that underscores how successful refugee integration has been and how refugees differ from other immigrants. To that end, this report provides context on resettled refugees and the policy conversation, synthesizes evidence on integration outcomes, and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the data sources and methods on which researchers rely.

    This clarifies what we do and do not know. We highlight gaps in the research base that, if filled, would provide a fuller picture on both sides of the integration equation: refugees and receiving communities.

    Current policy debates focus on skills-based admissions, costs, and security...

    There is a major disconnect between the current policy debate and the reality of refugee outcomes in the US. After a tumultuous year of policy changes for the refugee resettlement program and as refugees are being framed as security, economic, and cultural threats, policymakers must consider the evidence base on the realities of refugees and their local communities.

    Today’s policy debates are not grounded in the evidence that underscores how successful refugee integration has been and how refugees differ from other immigrants. To that end, this report provides context on resettled refugees and the policy conversation, synthesizes evidence on integration outcomes, and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the data sources and methods on which researchers rely.

    This clarifies what we do and do not know. We highlight gaps in the research base that, if filled, would provide a fuller picture on both sides of the integration equation: refugees and receiving communities.

    Current policy debates focus on skills-based admissions, costs, and security

    Current immigration policy debates revolve around reducing immigration across the board, with a privileging of skills-based admissions, concern over security threats and screening procedures, and a focus on the costs rather than the contributions immigrants make to their communities.

    Refugees make up a small part of the immigrant population and are entering the US to escape violence and persecution, but federal policy changes over the past year have targeted them alongside other groups. Since the first travel ban in January 2017, policy changes have caused major shocks to the refugee resettlement system. Refugee admissions in fiscal year 2017 hit a historic low, and admissions in fiscal year 2018 are likely to be much lower.

    What does the research say about refugee integration outcomes?

    Resettled refugees have entered the US on humanitarian grounds. They have been admitted for safety and refuge from violence, torture, or discrimination, not to contribute to our workforce. And yet, refugees do contribute to the US workforce and society.

    Recent research shows that after a period of adjustment after arrival, refugees integrate on economic, linguistic, and civic measures. On average, they participate in the labor force at high rates, their earnings rise, and their use of public benefits declines. Their English language skills improve, and those arriving during their youth have strong educational attainment. Set on a fast track to obtain green cards and citizenship compared with other immigrants, most refugees become US citizens, and many own homes and businesses.

    There is not just one “refugee experience.” They are a diverse group, and outcomes vary. Many remain limited by low English proficiency and low educational attainment, which influences their economic outcomes.

    Looking beyond economics to health, well-being, and social connection

    Recent research on refugees, including the cost report mandated by executive order, has focused on refugees’ economic costs and contributions, but this balance-sheet mentality has shortcomings. Refugees contribute to local economies, but they contribute in other ways. They bring new perspectives and diversity but sometimes disrupt local communities and have a stressful effect on local infrastructure like local schools and hospitals. Changes for the receiving community can be more challenging to measure and quantify than measuring outcomes for refugees.

    To inform resettlement policymaking decisions, we need to look beyond employment and collect more information on refugees’ noneconomic outcomes. In addition to economic, linguistic, and civic factors, researchers and stakeholders agree that health, well-being, and social connection are critical from a policy perspective. 

    Gaps need to be filled to inform the policy conversation

    Any research on refugees is difficult given their vulnerable status, their small numbers, their geographic dispersion, and diversity in their language background and demographic characteristics. The data available to assess refugee integration are limited in some ways.

    Although existing evidence on key integration outcomes answers some questions, there are many gaps in our knowledge that merit study. Learning more about these issues will help our understanding of refugee integration in the US and inform decisionmaking. We must continue to push the evidence base to develop a stronger understanding of both sides of the integration equation—refugees and receiving communities. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Warren, Molly; Beck, Stacy; Rayburn, Jack
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    The annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report provides the latest data on obesity and related health conditions, as well as 40 policy and practice recommendations from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (Author summary)

    The annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report provides the latest data on obesity and related health conditions, as well as 40 policy and practice recommendations from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (Author summary)

  • Individual Author: Gagnon, Douglas; Mattingly, Beth; Schaefer, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the nation, offering tax credits to low- and moderate-earning families. The amount of EITC benefits varies by earnings and the number of dependent children in a family, with considerably more generous benefits going to families with children. In addition to the federal EITC, as of 2015, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia provided additional EITC dollars. Most state EITCs are generally structured such that they offer credits equal to a proportion of the federal EITC, varying from 3.5 percent in Louisiana to 40 percent in Washington, DC. This brief documents the estimated effects of state EITC benefits on rates of poverty in 2010–2014 using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). First, we examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates and average EITC benefits across states with a fully refundable EITC between 2010 and 2014, and estimate how much higher poverty rates would have been in the absence of the state EITC. Next, we analyze how...

    The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the nation, offering tax credits to low- and moderate-earning families. The amount of EITC benefits varies by earnings and the number of dependent children in a family, with considerably more generous benefits going to families with children. In addition to the federal EITC, as of 2015, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia provided additional EITC dollars. Most state EITCs are generally structured such that they offer credits equal to a proportion of the federal EITC, varying from 3.5 percent in Louisiana to 40 percent in Washington, DC. This brief documents the estimated effects of state EITC benefits on rates of poverty in 2010–2014 using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). First, we examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates and average EITC benefits across states with a fully refundable EITC between 2010 and 2014, and estimate how much higher poverty rates would have been in the absence of the state EITC. Next, we analyze how trends in poverty and state EITC benefits vary by race, marital status, metropolitan status, and region among these states. Finally, we project hypothetical differences in poverty rates for non-EITC states had they adopted EITCs of various generosities over this same time period. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pac, Jessica; Nam, Jaehyun; Waldfogel, Jane; Wimer, Chris
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    Between 1968 and 2013, the poverty rate of young children age 0 to 5 years fell by nearly one third, in large part because of the role played by anti-poverty programs. However, young children in the U.S. still face a much higher rate of poverty than do older children in the U.S. They also continue to have a much higher poverty rate than do young children in other developed countries around the world. In this paper, we provide a detailed analysis of trends in poverty and the role of anti-poverty programs in addressing poverty among young children, using an improved measure of poverty, the Supplemental Poverty Measure. We examine changes over time and the current status, both for young children overall and for key subgroups (by child age, and by child race/ethnicity). Our findings can be summarized in three key points. First, poverty among all young children age 0–5 years has fallen since the beginning of our time series; but absent the safety net, today's poverty rate among young children would be identical to or higher than it was in 1968. Second, the safety net plays an...

    Between 1968 and 2013, the poverty rate of young children age 0 to 5 years fell by nearly one third, in large part because of the role played by anti-poverty programs. However, young children in the U.S. still face a much higher rate of poverty than do older children in the U.S. They also continue to have a much higher poverty rate than do young children in other developed countries around the world. In this paper, we provide a detailed analysis of trends in poverty and the role of anti-poverty programs in addressing poverty among young children, using an improved measure of poverty, the Supplemental Poverty Measure. We examine changes over time and the current status, both for young children overall and for key subgroups (by child age, and by child race/ethnicity). Our findings can be summarized in three key points. First, poverty among all young children age 0–5 years has fallen since the beginning of our time series; but absent the safety net, today's poverty rate among young children would be identical to or higher than it was in 1968. Second, the safety net plays an increasing role in reducing the poverty of young children, especially among Black non-Hispanic children, whose poverty rate would otherwise be 20.8 percentage points higher in 2013. Third, the composition of support has changed from virtually all cash transfers in 1968, to about one third each of cash, credit and in-kind transfers today. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gelatt, Julia; Koball, Heather; Bernstein, Hamutal; Runes, Charmaine; Pratt, Eleanor
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Over seven million U.S. children live with at least one noncitizen parent -- and 80 percent of these children are US-born citizens. Close to 5 million US-citizen children live with an unauthorized immigrant parent, potentially subject to deportation. Research has shown that the deportation of a parent has serious deleterious effects on families—emotional distress, behavioral issues, and economic hardship for children—and that even the threat of deportation can hurt a family’s well-being by causing fear that restricts mobility, access to jobs, and use of public and private supports in times of need. The election of President Trump, with his plans to increase efforts to identify and deport unauthorized immigrants, has signaled a harsher policy environment for immigrant families than in recent years. In State Immigration Enforcement Policies: How They Impact Low-Income Households, researchers at NCCP, Urban Institute, and Migration Policy Institute looked at how the changing immigration policy environment is likely to affect immigrant families. Specifically, the report examines...

    Over seven million U.S. children live with at least one noncitizen parent -- and 80 percent of these children are US-born citizens. Close to 5 million US-citizen children live with an unauthorized immigrant parent, potentially subject to deportation. Research has shown that the deportation of a parent has serious deleterious effects on families—emotional distress, behavioral issues, and economic hardship for children—and that even the threat of deportation can hurt a family’s well-being by causing fear that restricts mobility, access to jobs, and use of public and private supports in times of need. The election of President Trump, with his plans to increase efforts to identify and deport unauthorized immigrants, has signaled a harsher policy environment for immigrant families than in recent years. In State Immigration Enforcement Policies: How They Impact Low-Income Households, researchers at NCCP, Urban Institute, and Migration Policy Institute looked at how the changing immigration policy environment is likely to affect immigrant families. Specifically, the report examines whether immigrant families living in states that ramped up enforcement of federal policy saw any changes in their material hardship, or how often fear of deportation affected their ability to pay for essentials (such as rent, utilities, or food). Developed with an interactive “State Immigration Policy Resource”, the report highlights important connections between immigration policy enforcement and well-being in immigrant households. (Author abstract) 

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