America's Poverty and Inequality Course


Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences



It's a special moment in U.S. history in which income inequality has reached unprecedented levels, poverty remains extreme, and racial and gender inequalities are intransigent. Why is there so much inequality and poverty? How might they be reduced? Find out from the country's top scholars in America's course on poverty and inequality.

So what makes this course different?

  • Comprehensive: Features the 40 key research results that underlie our country's policy and its new science of poverty and inequality.
  • Up-to-date: Highlights the most recent findings and results on poverty and inequality.
  • Scholar-direct delivery: The country's leading scholars present their own research.
  • Quick: Each video is short (approximately 5 minutes) and jargon-free.
  • Modular: The course is divided into 8 standalone modules.
  • Easy to follow: Each module is introduced and explained by David B. Grusky, the director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, and Lindsay Owens, Stanford University Ph.D. and Economic Policy Advisor in the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren.
  • Excellent readings: Each video is paired with readings that elaborate the videos.
  • Accessible: It's free, open to the public, and without any prerequisites.


David B. Grusky, Barbara Kimball Browning Professor in the Humanities & Sciences, Professor of Sociology, Stanford University, Director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), Director of the California Welfare Laboratory, coeditor of Pathways Magazine and the Social Inequality Series

Lindsay Owens, Economic Policy Advisor in the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren, the 2014-2015 American Sociological Association Congressional Fellow, and teacher of a course on domestic poverty and inequality at Georgetown University.

Course Staff

Catherine Sirois, doctoral student in Sociology at Stanford University, studying poverty and incarceration

Stephanie Garlow, Communications Manager at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

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Delivery Option:
Online Course Free

Textbooks & Resources

The readings are suggested, but not required. Most of the readings come from Inequality in the 21st Century. All proceeds go to the Children's Defense Fund.

Time Commitment

There are no deadlines in the course and you can work through the material at your own pace, but you should expect to spend roughly 2-4 hours per section on the videos and assignments, more if you choose to complete the recommended reading.

This course may not currently be available to learners in some states and territories.