Kathryn Edin Is Changing the Way We Look at Poverty

“How is it that a solid work ethic is not an adequate defense against extreme poverty?”

Sociologist Kathryn Edin is a researcher, whose in-depth studies of welfare challenge what Americans are taught about our socioeconomic system as a whole.  A Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at John Hopkins University, Edin achieved this recognition for her dedication as both an instructor and researcher.  Having earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1989, Edin has dedicated her life to observing and understanding poverty in America.

By living with subjects in an impoverished East Camden, New Jersey, Edin deeply connected with residents, who opened up honestly about their lives.  She moved her family to a studio apartment in a notoriously bad neighborhood, residing there for three years.  She spent her time conversing with low-income fathers, trying to understand their perspectives on pregnancy, child rearing, and marriage in a world that seems so far away from the typical American suburban household.  With her findings, she challenged the stereotypes that these men were apprehensive about fatherhood and instead found that they viewed parenthood as a light in their often hopeless lives.

Edin has authored and co-authored numerous books on poverty in America, including $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, which author Barbara Ehrenreich states should “mobilize not only national alarm, but international attention.”  This book looks at how one and a half million households in America, including approximately three million children, live on a mere $2.00 per person, each day.  She also wrote Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City with Timothy Nelson, an eye-opener that author Alex Kotlowitz says “turns many of our assumptions about fatherhood on their head.”  This account, of more than 100 men, makes the reader reconsider the notion of a “deadbeat dad”.  These nonfiction works delve into the reality of living on very little in our country and the truth behind welfare recipients and single parents.


For inquiries about booking the dedicated and insightful sociologist Kathryn Edin for your next event, please contact us.

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