A Zabbal on a Cairo street

Cairo’s Zabbaleen and Secret Life of Trash

In Egypt's capital, members of an impoverished Coptic population strengthen community ties while making a living as ragpickers.
Lazarillo de Tormes and His Blind Master

How Social Upheaval Gave Rise to the Picaresque Novel

How did the arcadian shepherd and chivalric knight-errant, centuries-old fixtures of European literature, give way to this witty rascal, the pícaro?
National Welfare Rights Organization activists marching in Washington, DC, May 1968.

How Poor Women Shaped the War on Poverty

Bridging the gap between policy and people was a central aim of the War on Poverty. Often, women were the ones who linked the government to the community.
Children walk along the tracks in what remains of their community along Buffalo Creek on Feb. 27, 1972.

The Tragedy at Buffalo Creek

The historic Buffalo Creek flood tore through a region often exploited by industry—and stereotyped by outsiders.
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, 2019 Laureates in Economic Sciences

Why Are Random Trials So Common in Anti-Poverty Work?

Three economists who have devoted their careers to studying poverty alleviation won the Nobel Prize in economics. How did their methods catch on?
Baby Drinking from Bottle, close-up

The Continuing Controversy Over Baby Formula

Nestlé promoted formula in the developing world, even though they knew bottle-feeding with limited sanitation and refrigeration could be dangerous.
Food security

Global Food Security: A Primer

World hunger is not caused by our inability to produce enough food. The problem arises because of the economic inequality that distorts food distribution.
Homelessness in San Francisco

The Partisan Blame Game That Perpetuates Poverty

A sociological explanation for why the Bay's homelessness epidemic is so intractable.
Early food stamps

What the History of Food Stamps Reveals

In the early years of food stamps the goal wasn't necessarily to feed America's poor. The idea was to buttress the price of food after the decline in crop prices had created a crisis in rural America.
Child poverty

Why Equality Matters More Than Income

Looking at children’s wellbeing in rich countries like the U.S. in 2007, scholars found that inequality may matter a lot more for kids’ lives than absolute income level.