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Identifying Unheard Voices: Poverty & Economic Disparity

The following guide provides an overview for identifying underrepresented voices and communities within research.

"End Poverty to Stop Crime" by Editor B is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The following page will introduce students and researchers to resources related to:.

  • Scholarly and external research resources related to economic inequalities..
  • Information regarding Advocacy groups, as well as the outreach and policy work they perform.

Resources Available at the Gordon Library

Resources Related to Economic Disparities and Inequalities

Voices at Risk of Economic Bias 

The voices of the poor and other economically marginalized communities are underrepresented in academia, government, healthcare, and other industries. History has shown, that even when economically marginalized communities have advocated for themselves, many times the works were not recorded or saved. By intentionally seeking out and citing work created by and for individuals from marginalized communities, we help to advocate for the creators, their communities, and the perspectives they present.  At the same time, we broaden our own understanding of the topic. 

Where to Find Scholarship 

For books written BY diverse people, first identify the subject heading used for that class of person or ethnic group, then add subject subdivision terms to narrow your search. 

Note that a subject search on just "Homeless," will also get: Homeless mothers, Homeless veterans, Homeless students, Homeless children, etc. 

Note that a subject search on just "Low income" will also get: Low income tenants, Low income parents, Low income single mothers, etc. 

These subject headings might also be useful: Working class writingsPrecarious employmentFood security (LCSH)Eviction (LCSH)Economic Security (LCSH)People with social disabilities, Writings of (LCSH) 

The Gordon Library recommends checking out the Review of Radical Political Economics for salient class and economic inequalities critiques. 

External Resources: The following resources will introduce students to current economic inequalities research, including public opinion, data analysis, and public-policy discussions. For more think tank and NGO research, please see Harvard's Kennedy School Think Tank Search Engine.

Public Opinion Research:

Pew Research Center, Income Inequality

  • News site that highlights poverty and income inequality reports and studies including results of Pew Research Center surveys on this topic.

International Economic Inequalities Resources:

Our World in Data, Global Economic inequality

World Bank, GINI index

  • The Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. Part of the World Development Indicators database.

World Income Inequality Database

  • Available through United Nations University, this database collects and stores information on income inequality for developed, developing, and transition countries. Site includes extensive documentation about source and surveys used by country.

World Wealth & Income Database

  • With over fifty countries, this database is the largest one on income inequality.
  • Read the World Inequality Report 2018 for additional analysis of the data.

Find Policy

  • A side project of Transparify, search think tank sites grouped by topic and location.

US Government:


  • Historical data on population, labor and employment; includes income distribution in the U.S and Gini ratios.

Federal Research Economic Data (FRED)

  • Includes state data on poverty, SNAP recipients and other indicators of poverty in the US.

IRS, Tax Statistics

  • A wide range of tables, articles, and data that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system. Links to IRS Statistics of Income (SOI) products.

Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)

  • Longest running longitudinal household survey in the world. Directed by University of Michigan faculty.

United States, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

  • Includes personal income and GINI datasets on national, regional and local level.

United States Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)

  • Estimates of income and poverty in the United States on the county and state level; also (partially) traces child poverty by school districts.

United States Census Bureau, Income

  • US Census site providing access to reports, data and tools for researching survey results on income in the US.

United States Census Bureau, Poverty

  • Poverty site on US Census page. Includes links to pdfs and reports and data tools that can be used to locate poverty and income inequality data.

United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Download data on county wages, income, unemployment, pay & benefits,

EPA Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool

  • Combines environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators

Infographic: Where Survival Becomes a Full-Time Job | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista


Living Wage Calculator

  • Developed by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier at MIT

Self Sufficiency Standard

  • Creates “bare bones” family budgets that detail the minimum amount of income required by families to meet their basic needs without public or private assistance. Includes state reports and calculators.

State of Working America

  • Published by the Economic Policy Institute. Site includes data on family income, wages, jobs, unemployment, wealth, and poverty that allow for a clear, unbiased understanding of the economy’s effect on the living standards of working Americans. Includes downloadable data sets.