Center for Population, Inequality and Policy

The UC Irvine Center for Population, Inequality, and Policy (CPIP) has received a funding injection from the UCI Program in Public Health that will expand the Organized Research Unit’s ability to award seed grants, offer public facing speaker series, and partner with community organizations to take on the causes and consequences of socioeconomic inequality in the U.S.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated societal inequalities that exist around the world. With this extra funding from public health, our hope is that we can expand the crucial work being done here at UC Irvine to address the socioeconomic factors that directly impact inequality,” says Bernadette Boden-Albala, public health dean.

Established in 2019 with 26 faculty representing five schools and units on campus, CPIP has grown to include 44 faculty whose research interests encompass widening gaps in economic, educational, health, and other outcomes among the U.S. population. Initial and on-going administrative funding for CPIP from the UCI Office of Research and School of Social Sciences has been key in mobilizing the center’s inaugural efforts, and the new $20,000 annual collaboration with public health will provide vital funds for extension of the center’s work.

“I'm excited about this partnership with the Program in Public Health, which will extend CPIP's reach into the community and strengthen research on those complicated social problems that defy siloed solutions and require collaboration,” says Bill Maurer, social sciences dean.

CPIP is co-directed by Tim Bruckner, public health professor, and David Neumark, economics Distinguished Professor. The center’s research efforts are focused in six primary areas:

child and adolescent development, maternal and infant health, criminal justice and the life course, migration, institutions and human capital, and population data science and methodology. Faculty in each area are leading a variety of funded studies including a project by economist Damon Clark that’s exploring disparities in educational outcomes by race and socioeconomic status in urban schools. Another, led by criminologist Bryan Sykes and funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to train undergraduates from underrepresented groups in demography and build out a Ph.D. pipeline in population sciences.

“CPIP’s research agenda covers the many facets of behavior and policy that can both generate inequality and tell us how to reduce inequality. Public health has a critical role to play, and thus we enthusiastically welcome the commitment from Dean Boden-Albala on behalf of the Program in Public Health,” says Neumark.

Center faculty have also been active in pursuing and obtaining external funding to study the on-going impact COVID-19 has in each of CPIP’s core areas. Currently, there are more than 10 pandemic research projects in progress that examine everything from important lessons past crises can teach us to better navigate the present and how the prevalence of asymptomatic COVID carriers who have gone undetected and untested impact our understanding of the disease’s spread, to the role social media has played in crisis response and how the shift to remote learning has impacted the social networks, psychosocial adjustment, and academic outcomes of students.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore CPIP’s ability to flexibly partner with local, state, and federal agencies to study policy-relevant issues impacting our society,” says Bruckner.

The center has a robust speaker schedule in the works for fall and will be announcing more programming as the year develops. 

Learn more about CPIP online and follow the center on social. For information on how to support CPIP’s work, visit


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