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Jan 26, 2024

Where you live can affect the quality of education you receive, your chances of finding a good job, and even how long you might live. In their new book, “The Injustice of Place: Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America,” Dr. Luke Shaefer and his co-authors Kathryn Edin and Timothy Nelson create a new way of looking at poverty, called the Index of Deep Disadvantage. Their team spends time in and learns about the communities that have the worst scores, and find that legacies of profound racism, extractive big industry, and crumbling social infrastructure contribute to generations of people struggling to thrive. But even in these communities that face multiple layers of challenge and trauma, there are rays of hope and residents determined to improve their lives and those of their neighbors.

Luke Shaefer is an IRP Affiliate and the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is a Professor of Social Work, and the Director of Poverty Solutions, also at the University of Michigan.