Skip to Main Content

Poverty Law

Resources for getting started on research related to laws and legal issues impacting the poor.


Administration for Children and Families

The Administration for Children and Families is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides programs targeting children, families, and communities. It also works with and provides funding to tribal communities throughout the United States.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 

The ACLU's mission is to defend the constitutional rights of all U.S. citizens including the rights of the poor. 

American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)

The American Public Human Services Association is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to help families and communities improve their lives through programs related to healthcare, housing, employment, and more.

U.S. Department of Labor-created online resource that provides government benefit eligibility information, allowing individuals to determine their potential eligibility for over one thousand state and federal benefit and assistance programs.

Center for Economic and Policy Research

The Center for Economic and Policy Research is an economic policy think-tank that promotes democratic debate on economic and social issues affecting democracy in the United States.

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

A non-partisan anti-poverty nonprofit national organization that develops programs for reducing poverty and increasing opportunities for people of color. 

National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ)

This organization strives to advance the cause of racial and economic justice for low-income families, individuals, and communities through litigation and political advocacy.

Shriver Center on Poverty Law (SCPL)

The SCPL fights for and works alongside communities affected by poverty and racism by offering litigation, training, and public policy services.


Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

This organization's mission is to work with partner communities to advance human rights for all people by combating racism, hate groups, and other extremist organizations. 

United for a Fair Economy (UFE)

A national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that highlights the detriments of wealth disparity in the United States. 

Western Center on Law & Poverty

Formed by legal experts from USC, UCLA, and Loyola, this organization focuses on poverty law issues for Californians and advocates for economic and racial justice. 


Justice for All?: The Rich and Poor in Supreme Court History 1790-1990 by Russell Galloway (Carolina Academic Press, 1991)

A historical analysis of the Supreme Court's treatment of the rich and poor in cases involving welfare benefits, indigent criminal defendants, racial discrimination, and other economic and class-dividing issues. (USC Libraries)


Poverty and the Law by Asbjørn Kjønstad (Hart Publishing, 2001)
A collection of legal essays discussing the impact of poverty in various political and cultural settings and how intersectionality, geographical factors, and political factors can exacerbate poverty. (USC Libraries)


Getting By: Economic Rights and Legal Protections for People With Low Income by Helen Hershkoff (Oxford University Press, 2019)

A critical review of the programs, rights, and legal protections affecting poor and low-income people in the United States, including cash assistance programs, employment and labor rights, food assistance, health care, housing programs, education, consumer and banking laws, rights in public spaces, judicial access, and the right to vote. (USC Libraries)


Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy

This law journal publishes articles from distinguished scholars from poverty-related fields. (

Journal of Poverty

This publication provides articles that cover contemporary poverty within a global context. (USC Libraries)

Loyola Poverty Law Journal (Defunct)

This law journal, running from 1995 to 1999, published articles related to poverty law and public interest. It was changed into the Journal of Public Interest law in 1999. (Loyola Poverty Law)

Poverty & Race Journal

This quarterly print journal is published by the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) and publishes reports and studies related to race and poverty. (

Southern University Law Center Journal of Race, Gender & Poverty

This law journal publishes articles from a diverse range of topics meant to encourage the community to take a stand against injustices like poverty. (

UC Law Journal of Race and Economic Justice

Created by a coalition of law students in 2002 to provide legal scholarship focused on the interests of the poor and marginalized. Formerly titled Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. (


International Monetary Fund eLibrary

Offers access to the IMF's research, analysis, data, and publications on economic and socio-economic issues and includes a section on poverty and homelessness. (USC Libraries)

ProQuest Sociology Database

Includes hundreds of full-text scholarly journals and other resources on social work, policy, care, and services. (USC Libraries

Taxation & Economic Reform in America Parts I & II

This HeinOnline database offers access to literature and government resources on economic policy. (USC Libraries

Data & Statistics

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

This database from HeinOnline allows access to AEI's collection of published scholarly public policy works.

Civil Rights and Social Justice

This comprehensive HeinOnline database on civil rights and social justice includes government reports, legislative histories, supreme court briefs, and scholarly articles.

Data Planet Statistical Datasets 

An interactive database that allows users to create tables, maps, and figures from a variety of data sources.

The Federal Register Poverty Guidelines

An annual update to the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) poverty guidelines, accounting for the previous calendar year's increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

U.S. Census Bureau

Provides a variety of demographic data from the U.S. Census.

U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts

Summary statistics for state and county level census data.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Poverty & Economic Mobility Research

Poverty guidelines, research, and measurement.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Data and Research

A collection of studies from the HHS' Administration for Children & Families, which evaluates its programs for vulnerable children, families, and communities.


Cornell Legal Information Institute: Public Benefits

Includes references to federal statutes, cases and agencies. Topics include: food stampshealthMedicaidMedicaremental healthSocial Security, and welfare law.

USC Digital Accessibility