Recent Poverty, Race, and Inequality Research
- Housing and Residential Mobility
- Poverty and Income inequality
- Class Dynamics and Social Mobility
- Affirmative Action and Opportunity
- Race, Interracial Relations, and Prejudice
With a major grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, IPR social psychologist Thomas D. Cook is leading an interdisciplinary team of social scientists in carrying out a longitudinal study of how housing matters for families and children. The network is comprised of some of the nation’s top researchers in housing, poverty, and child development. Through a random-assignment study of 2,650 families and 3,450 children in four cities (Seattle, Dallas, Denver, and Cleveland), the network will gain a more direct understanding of how housing makes families stronger and improves outcomes for children. The signature study will span three and a half years, with three waves of data collection. In particular, the researchers will observe housing effects on children from birth until age eight and try to understand questions left unanswered in previous housing studies. Until now, research has developed theories for why housing matters, but there is, as of yet, little evidence of the ways in which children’s lives are improved because of better housing. As a result of the inability to definitively link specific housing characteristics to child outcomes, housing is rarely considered in policy decisions about child welfare. This study takes a broad, multidisciplinary approach, pulling together theoretical perspectives from a variety of disciplines, including statistics, sociology, economics, urban studies, education, and child development, to investigate how housing and the surrounding social, institutional, and family environment can affect children’s health, education, behavior, and life outcomes. Cook is Joan and Sarepta Harrison Chair in Ethics and Justice.
Housing Instability and Children’s Education Outcomes
With support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a team of researchers, including IPR education economist David Figlio, are investigating the effects of housing instability on children’s education outcomes. Using longitudinal data linking foreclosures and other kinds of housing upheavals to individual public school student records, the researchers examine four major markets suffering from unusual housing instability. Incorporating a variety of empirical strategies to separate the effects of housing instability from the effects of unobserved family characteristics, it will be possible to determine whether and how these changing schools and homes are impacting students’ educational outcomes. The results will better inform policymakers about whether, when, and how they should intervene in housing markets or tailor educational processes to reduce any negative effects that housing transitions might cause.
Neighborhoods and Health
IPR biological anthropologist Thomas McDade and IPR developmental psychobiologist Emma Adam were part of a team, led by economist Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago, that was the first to employ a randomized experimental design to learn about the connections between neighborhood poverty and health. The researchers studied 4,498 poor women and children in five major U.S. cities in the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) residential mobility program, which enrolled low-income families with children living in distressed public housing. Families volunteered for the experiment, and based on the results of a random lottery, were offered the chance to use a housing voucher subsidy to move into a lower-poverty community. Other families were randomly assigned to a control group that received no special assistance under the program.
Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study collected information on the families who had enrolled in the program between 1994 and 1998. The research team measured the heights and weights of MTO participants and collected blood samples to test for diabetes. At the time of follow-up, 17 percent of the women in the study’s control group were morbidly obese and 20 percent had diabetes. But low-income women who received the vouchers and moved with their children to more affluent neighborhoods were less likely to be extremely overweight or diabetic, revealing better long-term health outcomes.
Three Segregations and Concentrated Urban Poverty
Research published in the American Sociological Review by Quillian finds that blacks and Hispanics tend to have neighbors from other racial groups who are disproportionately likely to be poor, even for high-income black and Hispanic households. This contributes importantly to the high poverty rates of the neighborhoods lived in by black and Hispanic families and to high poverty rates in the schools attended by black and Hispanic children. Quillian analyzed data from the 2000 census and found that the disproportionate poverty of blacks’ and
Hispanics’ neighbors who are of other races plays an important role in creating racial disparities in neighborhood poverty. He develops a model to mathematically decompose sources of poverty concentration as a product of demographic conditions including forms of segregation. He finds that concentrated poverty in minority communities results from three segregations: racial segregation, poverty-status segregation within race, and segregation from high- and middle-income members of other racial groups. Past work has emphasized racial segregation and poverty-status segregation within race, but has missed the important role played by the disproportionately low-income levels of different-race neighbors of blacks and Hispanics. Quillian concludes that we need to consider the complex combination of race and income segregation in policies to reduce poverty concentration.
Dynamic Models of Race and Income Segregation
Housing trends in many U.S. cities clearly reflect decades of racial segregation. But why do current residents continue to relocate along racial lines? Quillian is examining the modern day causes of urban racial segregation in a project with Elizabeth Bruch of the University of Michigan. One hypothesis is that a community’s racial make up directly affects the decision to move—or not to move—to a certain community, either due to prejudice or to a preference for living among neighbors of one’s own race. A second hypothesis is that race only appears to matter because it is associated with other characteristics that do matter to households, such as school quality or poverty and crime rates. To test these hypotheses, Quillian and Bruch have developed new methods for modeling residential mobility across neighborhoods. Their discrete choice models incorporate multiple characteristics of destination neighborhoods, thus improving the model’s realism in replicating residential decision making. Preliminary results suggest that racial composition is a major factor in residential mobility decisions, even controlling for housing prices, economic status, and other factors of the communities to which people move. The research is supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Housing Policies and Crime
Skogan was part of a research team that completed a study to determine whether public housing relocatees have a significant impact on crime in the neighborhoods they move to when using housing vouchers. Commissioned by the Chicago Housing Authority, the researchers examined the moves of Plan for Transformation housing voucher recipients from 1999 to 2008, collecting 25,000 data points from 813 different census tracts. They tracked those who moved in or out of a census tract on a quarterly basis and then looked at crime in the same tract in the ensuing quarter and plugged this information into a regression model. In both Chicago and Atlanta, which they also studied, they found citywide decreases in violent, gun, and property crime. Crime in neighborhoods where the public housing projects once stood dropped dramatically—a 60 percent drop in violent crime, 70 percent in gun crime, and 49 percent in property crime. Crime also decreased in the areas where voucher residents resettled; however, not as much as predicted had these voucher families stayed where they were. The researchers cite possible reasons for this, including higher victimization of relocated young men, disrupted social controls, and displacement. Overall, the city experienced a crime decline of 1 percent. While this might look like a tiny number, the take home point, Skogan said, is that crime on Chicago Housing Authority property has never played a huge role in citywide crime rates. Nowhere in the city is crime as high or as dangerous now as it was when the public housing projects were standing.
Economic Opportunities for Women
Beaman is working in the West African nation of Mali to evaluate the Saving for Change Program, a new form of community savings program that integrates self-managed saving and lending groups with education sessions. In the rural regions of Mali, the economy is mainly based on subsistence agriculture, and a lack of financial means to hire labor and buy input can put significant limits on women’s economic opportunities. Locally known as Épargner pour le Changement, the Saving for Change Program was implemented to increase women’s ability to save and create access to credit. It also helps them invest in agricultural, or other small business, activities. The program was offered to a random sample of 250 villages in Mali’s Ségou region. Group members save a set amount each week and can benefit from short-term loans from the group savings fund. Training group members who volunteer to start new Saving for Change groups themselves accelerate the growth of the program. To test the effectiveness of different implementation strategies, Beaman and her colleagues are comparing the two methods for training village replicator agents—one in which replicators receive a pictorial manual and a formal three-day training session on how to start and manage groups and another that does not give any formal training, reducing program costs.
Kinship and Financial Networks
Many risks are present in rural developing economies, yet for many households in these economies, consumption and investment are insured against short-term risks to a large extent, despite limited availability of formal banking and insurance products. While the importance of kinship networks and financial access are each increasingly well documented, the channels through which these effects occur and the relationship between kinship networks and financial access are not well understood. Using unique data from rural Thai households, economist and IPR associate Cynthia Kinnan and co-author Robert Townsend of MIT examine this interplay. Their results indicate that access to the formal financial system plays an important role in smoothing consumption in the face of income shocks. Strikingly, an indirect connection is as effective as a direct connection, suggesting that borrowing and lending among households act to distribute capital from formal financial institutions. This implies that not every household in a village needs to use the banking system directly to benefit. The article was published in the American Economic Review.
Anti-Poverty Policy and Transfers
A central question in anti-poverty policy is whether welfare transfer programs should be made in kind or as cash, with the oft-cited rationale for in-kind transfers being to encourage consumption of certain goods. While both types of transfers increase the demand for normal goods, only in-kind transfers also increase supply. Hence, in-kind transfers should lead to lower prices than cash transfers, which help consumers at the expense of local producers. A recent working paper co-authored by economist and IPR associate Seema Jayachandran tests this hypothesis using a large food assistance program for poor households in Mexico, which randomly assigned villages to either receive boxes of food trucked into the village, equivalently valued cash transfers, or no transfers. The study shows sizeable price effects. The decline in food prices caused by in-kind transfers relative to cash transfers represents an indirect benefit of in-kind transfers for consumers that is large relative to the direct transfer itself. The researchers also find that agricultural profits increase in cash villages, where food prices rose, more so than in in-kind villages, where prices fell. These price effects were particularly pronounced for very geographically isolated villages, where the most impoverished people live.
Family Structure, Employment, and Inequality Among American Women
Income inequality in the United States has increased rapidly since the early 1970s, the same period during which women’s employment rates rose substantially and family structures diversified. IPR social demographer Christine Percheski examines how income is associated with family structure characteristics among women in their main reproductive years. Using Current Population Survey (CPS) data from 1980 to 2010, she describes how inequality in women’s total family income and in its constituent income components has changed over time. She finds that the associations between family characteristics—such as marriage, motherhood, and single motherhood—and total family income levels have remained fairly constant. However, associations between family structure and some components of income—such as women’s own earnings—have changed.
Single-Sex Schools and Achievement
Does being in an all-male or all-female school lead to better education outcomes? Amendments to Title IX regulations banning sex discrimination in education have made it easier to provide single-sex education in the United States since 2006, but little credible evidence exists on how such schools affect achievement. For the first time, the topic was examined within a quasi-experimental design conducted by Jackson. It uses a unique data set from Trinidad and Tobago, where almost all of its 123 secondary schools, including the most selective, are public, and approximately one-quarter are single sex. Jackson compared scores from two nationwide tests to evaluate outcomes, finding that although students with similar incoming characteristics at single-sex schools appeared to perform better, it was due to being admitted to a preferred school rather than a single-sex school per se. Once he accounted for this, there was no effect on achievement for more than 85 percent of students, suggesting that U.S. policymakers should use caution when creating more single-sex classes and schools, as they are likely to have little impact on overall achievement.
Americans Beliefs and Income Inequality
The Occupy Wall Street movement ignited an ongoing conversation about income inequality in America, the topic of IPR sociologist Leslie McCall’s forthcoming book, The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs About Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution (Cambridge University Press). In a March 23 New York Times piece, she drew from some of the themes of her book: “National polls show that since the late 1980s, a majority agrees that U.S. income differences are too large and executives are overpaid. So even though Americans might not realize how much inequality there is, they still want less of it. Moreover, far from believing naively in the American dream, Americans are well aware of barriers to opportunity, such as the decline in good paying jobs and in affordable college access for the lower and middle classes. Americans’ perceived lack of viable alternatives is what leads them to desire educational attainment and economic growth as the best means to restoring greater equality and opportunity.” In her book, McCall also examines views about redistributive policies in the labor market and by government, views about both the deserving and undeserving rich, and the development of American norms of equality throughout history.
American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty
IPR sociologist Monica Prasad’s forthcoming book, The Land of Too Much (Harvard University Press), centers around three key questions: Why does the United States have more poverty than any other developed country? Why did it experience an attack on state intervention starting in the 1980s, known today as the neoliberal revolution? And why did it recently suffer the greatest economic meltdown in 75 years? Prasad explores the puzzle of why the United States has the most progressive tax system of the advanced industrial world, yet one of the world’s smallest public welfare states. She traces how U.S. economic development grew from a model based on consumption while European states focused on an economic model driven by exports and investment. Fueled by a tradition of sweeping government interventions, U.S. economic growth and strict financial regulation increased private credit, which became the means for meeting citizens’ needs—a stark contrast to the cradle-to-grave social policies of a more protectionist Europe. In turn, the U.S. economic path eventually wound its way to more poverty, the “mortgage Keynesianism” that created the housing bubble, and an anti-tax and anti-regulation sentiment embodied by the recent rise of the Tea Party.
“Choice” has become a buzzword across the policy spectrum, especially in housing, schools, and healthcare. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, makes a case for “nudging” people toward choices that are in their best interest, but the authors do not address inequalities that inevitably arise when relying on a choice framework. Sociologist and African American studies researcher Mary Pattillo, Harold Washington Professor and an IPR associate, questions the assumptions, ideology, and philosophy that undergirds “choice.” She has conducted two small qualitative studies—one on parents choosing high schools for their children and the other on individuals using a housing choice voucher to search for an apartment. Preliminary results suggest that many on the receiving end of these policies are not even aware that they have a choice, that there are socioeconomic differences in who chooses, and that there is a misalignment in what policymakers and the targets of these policies deem important.
Maintaining Racial Inequality
IPR social demographer Quincy Thomas Stewart is scrutinizing the history of racial inequality since Jim Crow and the social organizations involved in maintaining black-white inequities. A driving question behind this work asks, “How many racists does it take to maintain racial inequality?” Historical evidence indicates that a larger number of racist advocates operating in various social arenas is needed than currently exists. Recent research points to a significant decline in the number of people who hold racist beliefs, refuting the idea that numbers of racists is what counts. Using an agent-based model of a Nash Bargaining game, Stewart’s investigation demonstrates that a system built on biased social institutions, even though they are administered or used by nonbiased (nonracist) individuals, can maintain racial inequality with a few, or even no, racists. He is laying out his arguments in a book manuscript, tentatively titled How Many Racists? How Everyday People Contribute to a System of Social Inequality. The book will focus on the social dynamics that lead to the emergence of racial inequality in an artificial society, the factors that sustain it once it is established, and the policies that can be used to undermine racial inequality.
Two-Generation Education Intervention
IPR developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and IPR research scientist Teresa Eckrich Sommer recently received awards from the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to expand to a large, mixed-methods longitudinal study of the CareerAdvance® Program (CAP), known as the CAP Family Life Study. It is a unique two-generation intervention that links postsecondary education and career training of low-income parents to their children’s development through early childhood education centers. Past research by Chase-Lansdale and Sommer indicates that such a program could harness parents’ hopes for their children’s educational success as motivation for their own educational progress. In addition to early childhood education centers and community college healthcare work force programs, CareerAdvance® also provides a number of key supportive components—career coaches, financial incentives, and peer group meetings—to prepare parents for high-demand jobs in the healthcare sector. Chase-Lansdale was also selected as one of the inaugural fellows of the Aspen Institute’s Ascend Fellowship, which supports national leaders who are working to move families out of poverty using two-generation strategies.
Socioeconomic Status and Disease Risk
Many studies document racial variation, gender differences, and socioeconomic status (SES) patterning in cardiovascular disease risk factors, but few studies have investigated heterogeneity in SES differences by race, ethnicity, or gender. Using data from more than 55,000 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, obesity researcher and IPR associate Mercedes Carnethon and her colleagues investigated racial and ethnic differences in the SES patterns of diabetes, hypertension, smoking, and body mass index (BMI). They observed inverse socioeconomic gradients in hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and BMI in white and black women, but associations were weaker or absent in Hispanic and Chinese women—except in the case of diabetes for Hispanic women. The research team found even greater differences in social patterning of risk factors in men. In white men, all four risk factors were inversely associated with socioeconomic position, with education being stronger than income. The inverse socioeconomic patterning was much less consistent in men of other races or ethnic groups, and higher SES was associated with higher BMI in nonwhite men. The study was published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
Segregation as a Source of Contextual Advantage
At the 2011 annual meeting of the Population Association of America, IPR sociologist Lincoln Quillian discussed his work to provide a formal demographic model of how segregation contributes to inequality through increasing the level of contextual advantage experienced by members of advantaged segregated groups and the level of contextual disadvantage of disadvantaged segregated groups. His model begins with two groups that differ along a dimension of average advantage and disadvantage, such as two racial groups that differ in their poverty rates. The model employs standard measures of segregation and contact, and illustrates how the contextual advantages and disadvantages from segregation are affected by the size of the group and the rates of group advantage (or disadvantage). It also considers complexities that occur when the characteristics that define advantages or disadvantages, such as income or poverty, have independent effects. The decomposition can be applied to understand how segregation contributes to contextual advantage for advantaged group members in a variety of situations, including neighborhoods, schools, and friendship networks.
Research led by IPR economist Lori Beaman focuses on the long-term outcomes of a law that reserved leadership positions for women in randomly selected village councils in India. Beaman and her team collected data in West Bengal between 2006 and 2007 on 8,453 male and female teenagers and their parents in 495 villages. The law was implemented in that region starting in 1998 and from that time, a village council spot could have been reserved for a female leader once, twice, or never. The study, published in Science, showed that the law has led to a direct role-model effect and is changing the way the girls, as well as their parents, think about female roles of leadership. According to the study, the gender gap in aspirations for their children’s career and education closed by 25 percent in parents and 32 percent in adolescents’ own aspirations. Adolescent Indian girls were more likely to attend school and spent less time on household chores in the villages that reserved political positions for women. Since there were no changes in education infrastructure or career options for young women during the study, this suggests that the opening of opportunities for women improved the girls’ attitudes toward higher career aspirations and education goals for women.
Affirmative Action in College Admissions
IPR sociologist Anthony Chen takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying the emergence and evolution of affirmative action programs and policies in the United States. Chen’s latest book project, carried out in collaboration with Lisa Stulberg of New York University, looks at the origins and development of race-based affirmative action in college admissions over the last half century. Based on extensive research from university archives, Chen and Stulberg reveal how administrators at a limited number of Northern schools took the initiative to launch a “first wave” of affirmative action in the early 1960s, inspired largely, if indirectly, by nonviolent civil rights protests in the South. A “second wave” of programs emerged in the late 1960s at the most selective and exclusive institutions in the United States, often as a response to campus-based student protests at Northern schools and to a lesser extent as a response to the urban uprisings of the time. The remainder of their book explains how race-based affirmative action emerged at other schools. It also traces how it fared around the country in the decades thereafter, when it was substantially transformed by a shifting array of social, legal, and political forces that were only partially visible at the outset.
Summer Reading and Achievement
Once children enter school, a reading gap between students of high and low socioeconomic status (SES) appears and begins to grow, likely exacerbated by summer vacation, as low-SES students are less likely to receive continued reading instruction over the break. Guryan and James Kim of Harvard University are leading a five-year, multidistrict randomized controlled trial to implement and evaluate Project READS, Reading Enhances Achievement During the Summer. Already the program is showing promising results, moderately reducing “summer loss” and improving reading skills. The program, developed by Kim, will be administered to approximately 10,000 students in 70 North Carolina elementary schools over the course of the study. Students are sent two books biweekly over summer break. Matched to student interests and reading level, the books are also paired with family activities to support summer reading. Members of the control group receive the books and activities at the start of school. Pre- and post-tests as well as reading tests are used to measure impact. In addition to monitoring student achievement and overall progress, Guryan is also examining different variations of READS that could improve its effectiveness, measuring cost-effectiveness, and seeking to identify those elements useful for replicating and further expanding the program. It is being supported by the U.S. Department of Education.
College for Disadvantaged Students
In an IPR working paper, Rosenbaum and Northwestern graduate student Michelle Naffziger analyze ethnographic data collected at two low-income, public high schools, seeking to understand the subtle cultural elements that impede disadvantaged students, how school staff in a new program try to identify and overcome these cultural barriers, and how students respond. The researchers show that students have difficulties with three specific cultural tasks in the college application process—seeing the pros and cons of the various college options, knowing how to identify which options match their own interests and needs, and knowing which attributes colleges value in admissions and how to present themselves accordingly. They consider how cultural capital translators could help students understand these requirements and overcome the associated barriers.
Although the blatant racism of earlier eras has declined dramatically in recent decades, contemporary forms of bias continue to thwart the realization of genuine racial equality. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a team of researchers including IPR social psychologist Jennifer Richeson investigated the hypothesis that perspective taking, actively contemplating others’ psychological experiences, can reduce automatic expressions of racial bias. Participants who adopted the perspective of a black person in an initial context subsequently exhibited more positive automatic interracial reactions. This change in automatic reactions also mediated the effect of perspective taking on more deliberate interracial reactions. Furthermore, unlike other bias-reduction strategies, the interracial positivity resulting from perspective taking did not blind perceivers to the realities of interracial disparities. These findings indicate that perspective taking can combat automatic expressions of racial biases without simultaneously decreasing sensitivity to ongoing racial inequalities. The study, conducted with National Science Foundation support, provides converging evidence for perspective taking as a strategy for combating automatic expressions of racial bias and for facilitating more favorable interracial contact experiences.
Intra-Minority Intergroup Relations
In a study published in Daedalus, Richeson explores how perceived societal discrimination against one’s own racial group influences racial minority group members’ attitudes toward other racial minorities. Richeson and Northwestern graduate student Maureen Craig find that perceived discrimination toward oneself and one’s own racial group could be positively associated with expressed closeness and common fate with another racial minority group, especially if individuals attribute past experiences of discrimination to their racial identity rather than to other social identities. The results suggest that making the common experience of discrimination salient might engender a common “disadvantaged racial minority” group identity for racial minorities that, in turn, results in positive evaluations of fellow “disadvantaged racial minority” group members.
Challenges in Studying Discrimination
Since the civil rights era, some gaps in black-white outcomes have closed or narrowed. But others remain stubbornly persistent, such as the gap in wages and employment. In an Annual Review of Economics article, IPR economist Jonathan Guryan and his colleague Kerwin Charles of the University of Chicago reviewed a portion of the literature on labor market discrimination. They highlight some of the fundamental challenges that the researchers face. The article discusses the difficulty of measuring workplace discrimination due to omitted-variables bias and other conceptual concerns, such as the conceptual problem with defining race and estimating the causal effect of race. After pointing to an encouraging rise in the use of experimental methods and some promising recent work that tests discrimination models directly, the researchers conclude by suggesting that economists might find inspiration for new methods by examining how social psychologists study prejudice.
Destabilizing America’s Racial Order
A recent article in Daedalus co-authored by political scientist and IPR associate Traci Burch, with Harvard’s Jennifer Hochschild and Vesla Weaver of Yale University, examines changes in the racial divide since the 1960s. The authors argue that younger Americans were raised in a different racial context and think about race differently than their older counterparts do. Young Americans’ racial attitudes are usually more liberal than those of older Americans, and their social networks are more intertwined. According to the authors, these changes in the views and behaviors of young people have the potential to produce a new American racial order—but only if Americans take the political and policy steps needed to diminish barriers that still block the chances of many young Americans.
Racial Disparities in Causes of Death
Currently, causal decomposition is the most common method used to estimate and compare death rates between groups of people. This method, however, harbors a major flaw, according to IPR social demographer Quincy Thomas Stewart in an article for Mathematical Population Studies. It does not account for the fact that underprivileged groups are more likely to die from nearly all other causes of death, skewing the results. To correct this, Stewart developed the “cause-deleted index.” In it, he deletes each individual cause and then evaluates the impact of the missing data on the survival rates of African Americans relative to whites. It tries to answer the question, “How much would the relative survival rates of blacks improve if deaths from cause X were eliminated?” Stewart tested the method by compiling 2,000 unique pairs of hypothetical mortality profiles from vital statistics collected between 1940 and 2000 and then by comparing the estimates both methods generated. In certain cases, results from both the causal decomposition method and cause-deleted index (CDI) agreed. But not always. In running the CDI for cancer, Stewart found a 35 percent increase in disparities between black and white women when it was eliminated as a cause of death. This means that in the real world, where cancer does exist and has a higher prevalence, it operates to reduce the overall racial difference in female death rates. The cause-deleted index provides additional information that, when used with causal decomposition, can pinpoint the major causes of death behind health disparities. Using both methods, Stewart advises, would also provide a more accurate map for future research and policies to reduce these differences.
Perceived Discrimination and Health
In the Maryland Adolescent Development in Context Study, Daily Diary Study, IPR psychobiologist Emma Adam, along with her fellow investigators Margaret Kemeny and Wendy Mendes of the University of California, San Francisco and Jacquelynne Eccles of the University of Michigan, is examining associations between 20 years of prospective data on perceived racial and ethnic discrimination, starting in adolescence, and biomarkers of stress and health in early adulthood. This study, supported by a National Institutes of Health Grand Opportunities grant, as part of federal stimulus funding, has just completed data collection. Their initial results show that histories of perceived discrimination, from early adolescence onward, are strong predictors of stress biology, including levels of the stress hormone cortisol, in early adulthood.