2005 Poverty Research Grants: Race, Ethnicity, Immigration, and Poverty

We seek proposals that will broaden our understanding of the relationships between race, ethnicity, immigration, and poverty.

The NPC anticipates funding up to 5 proposals, up to a maximum of $20,000 per award. Drafts of funded research will be presented at a conference in Ann Arbor in late January 2006. Grantees will also be invited to attend a larger NPC-produced conference on race/ethnicity, immigration, and poverty.

Application deadine: February 15, 2005

Download printable application instructions.

Background

In the mid-1960s, the United States declared a “War on Poverty” and established the first official way to measure it. From that date forward, researchers have observed substantial racial disparities in poverty rates and poverty-related outcomes. Blacks and Latinos are twice as likely as Asians and whites to be poor. Nonpoor black children are more likely than poor white children to be poor when they reach adulthood. Nearly 30 percent of black males are incarcerated at some point in their lives, compared to less than 5 percent of white males. Fifty percent of Asians have college degrees, compared to 30 percent of whites, 17 percent of blacks, and only 11 percent of Latinos.

Substantial effort has been devoted to documenting the extent of these disparities. Yet the more well known they are, the more they have been taken for granted. As Glenn Loury recently noted, research by leading poverty scholars provides “disturbing evidence that racial differences in the experience of poverty are large, intractable, and poorly understood” . This lack of understanding is rooted partly in the fear that the mention of racial disparities may be viewed as an acknowledgement of racial inferiority; partly in the tendency to see racism as a sufficient cause of the disparities; and partly in the failure of researchers to understand race, not simply as a category of phenotype and ancestry, but as a set of multidimensional phenomena in American society.

This last point is particularly important as the composition of racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. changes. The United States currently receives more immigrants as a percentage of its population than at any time since the late 19th century. One out of every 10 Americans is now foreign-born. The word “Hispanic” used to be synonymous with “Mexican”: today, over 40% of Hispanics trace their origin to countries other than Mexico. Until 1970, Japanese were the largest Asian group in the United States; now they are outnumbered by Asian Indians, Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos, and Vietnamese. African and Caribbean migrants, too, have changed the character of black communities across the country. As racial and ethnic diversity increases, will disparities in life chances increase as well? Or will the growing presence of minority races erode differences in poverty and poverty-related outcomes?

Research in this area is also important in helping to reassess anti-poverty policies in the U.S.. Socioeconomic advancement among immigrant and ethnic groups is often used as a benchmark against which native disadvantaged populations are compared. Income and health increases among second generation immigrants may provide information that can be useful in designing policy tools to assist the advancement of other disadvantaged populations.

Research Questions

The National Poverty Center is interested in funding new research investigating both the direct and indirect linkages between race, ethnicity, immigration, and poverty in American society.

Proposals must investigate the mechanisms that create racial and ethnic disparities in poverty-related outcomes. The highest priority will be given to proposals that investigate mechanisms across racial, ethnic and/or immigrant groups, rather than proposals that focus only on race, migration, or ethnicity.

The NPC is particularly interested in funding analyses of novel qualitative and quantitative data sources, and novel uses of existing datasets. Researchers who earned their doctoral degrees within the previous six years are especially encouraged to apply.

Listed below are topics of special concern. This list is intended for illustrative purposes, and is not a comprehensive list of fundable topics.

• The role of residential concentration in creating social capital for poor communities;
• The effect of government programs on poverty;
• Cultural strategies for coping with poverty;
• Access to education, medical care, employment, financial capital, and other poverty-related resources;
• The effects of stereotypes and preferences on poverty;
• The impacts of criminal conviction, imprisonment, and deportation on poverty;
• The ability of groups to create effective anti-poverty political coalitions.

Terms of funding

1. Grants can start as early as May 1, 2005 and no later than July 1, 2005. Grants will end on May 31, 2006. No-cost extensions will not be allowed.

2. Applicants for NPC grants must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent academic degree by the award date of the grant, or no later than July 1, 2005. Preference will be given to non-tenured researchers with full-time academic appointments and researchers using new approaches and innovative methods. University of Michigan faculty and postdoctoral fellows are ineligible for funding.

3. These awards will only be made as personal services contracts to one or more individual researchers; the NPC will not contract with the grantees’ employers.

4. The NPC will fund reasonable research expenses, including up to two summer months of salary for each investigator, data purchase, research assistance, and travel, to a maximum of $20,000.

5. The NPC will fund direct costs only; we will not provide indirect cost recovery.

6. Funded applicants must submit a detailed progress report by September 15, 2005 and will attend an NPC-sponsored conference in Ann Arbor in late January 2006 to present drafts of their research and receive input from NPC-affiliated scholars. The proposed budget should include travel costs related to this conference.

7. The NPC will pay grant recipients’ travel expenses to an additional event: a large, NPC-sponsored conference on race, ethnicity, immigration, and poverty. This conference will be held in September 2005 in either Ann Arbor or Washington, D.C. The proposed budget should not include travel costs related to this conference.

Selection criteria

Applications will be evaluated by senior scholars affiliated with the NPC and by staff from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Proposals will be evaluated based upon several factors, including:

• The policy significance of the proposed analysis in core issues linking race, ethnicity, immigration, and poverty.
• The quality of study design, including the choice of appropriate research and statistical methods and data.
• The feasibility of the proposed study.
• The efficient use of NPC resources.
• The use of new data sources or innovative use of existing data.
• The value of small-grant funding to the career development of the investigators and to successful project completion.

Application instructions

Applicants should provide 6 copies of the following:

1. A cover sheet with:
- The title of the proposed research
- The investigators’ name and institutional affiliation with mailing address, email address, phone and fax numbers

If the proposed research involves more than one investigator, a principal investigator (PI) must be identified. All correspondence will be with the PI.

2. A one-page abstract describing the specific aims, data and methods, and policy significance of the proposed study.

3. Description of the proposed project in 7-10 double-spaced pages (excluding figures and references). The description should (1) clearly describe specific aims and their research and policy significance, (2) very briefly summarize the relevant literature, (3) present major hypotheses, (4) fully describe the research design, proposed methodology and data sources, (5) clearly indicate how the proposed analyses will address the research and policy questions. Long literature reviews are discouraged. Particular emphasis should be given to items (3), (4) and (5).

4. An itemized proposed budget describing the funding requested from NPC. Please note that these awards will only be made as personal services contracts to one or more individual researchers.

Separately list current year salary and fringe charges for each study investigator. The NPC will pay up to two months of summer salary for any investigator. Other expense categories must be itemized separately. Appropriate research expenses include:
- Research assistance
- Travel
- Purchase of data
- Pertinent supplies
The budget should include funds for travel to Ann Arbor for a one-day conference in January 2006. The budget should not include funds for travel to the large, NPC-sponsored conference in September 2005; the NPC will arrange researchers’ travel to that event.

5. A project timeline listing specific milestones for study completion. The timeline must be within the period from June 1, 2005 through May 31, 2006.

6. Curriculum vitae for all investigators.

7. Human subjects review approval (often a waiver in the case of secondary data analysis) is required for all projects before funding can be dispersed.

Timeline and important dates

Application deadline: February 15, 2005
Notification of award: March 31, 2005
Researchers attend NPC conference on Race, Immigration, and Poverty (Ann Arbor or D.C.): September 2005
Detailed progress report: due September 15, 2005
Deadline for pre-conference paper: January 14, 2006
Researchers present papers at pre-conference in Ann Arbor: Late January 2006
Final paper due: May 31, 2006

Contact information

Applications should be sent to:

National Poverty Center
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
1015 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1689
ATTN: Small Grants: Race, Immigration, and Poverty

Direct questions to:

Sarah Marsh
Program Manager
National Poverty Center
Phone: 734-615-3890
Email: skmarsh@umich.edu

(We cannot accept faxed or emailed applications)

Funds for this competition are provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Download printable application instructions.

Learn about past NPC small grants.