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America's Poverty and Inequality Course

It's not too late to enroll! This is a self-paced course, meaning students can enroll at any time and complete the course at their own pace. Enroll above to get started.

About This Course

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.


No prerequisites are required to take the course.

Course Instructors

David Grusky

David Grusky

David B. Grusky is the Barbara Kimball Browning Professor in the Humanities & Sciences and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, Director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), Director of the California Welfare Laboratory, and coeditor of Pathways Magazine and the Social Inequality Series. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, co-recipient of the 2004 Max Weber Award, founder of the Cornell University Center for the Study of Inequality, and a former Presidential Young Investigator. His recent books are The Great Recession (with Bruce Western and Chris Wimer, 2011), The New Gilded Age (with Tamar Kricheli-Katz, 2011), The Inequality Puzzle (with Roland Berger, Tobias Raffel, Geoffrey Samuels, and Christopher Wimer, 2010), and The Inequality Reader (with Szonja Szelényi, 2011).

Lindsay Owens

Lindsay Owens

Lindsay Owens is an 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. She received her Ph.D. in sociology in 2014 from Stanford University, where she was a National Poverty Fellow at the Center on Poverty and Inequality and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She is a frequent author of opinion pieces and editorials, coeditor of a chartbook of 100 facts and figures on inequality (Inequality in the US: Understanding Inequality with Data), and a contributing author to the 2011 book, The Great Recession. Her research has appeared in some of the leading social science journals, including Social Forces, Public Opinion Quarterly, and The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Frequently Asked Questions

The course has already started. Is it too late to join?

No, it's not too late to join! The course is self-paced, meaning there are no due dates for assignments. You can join at any time.

Is it possible to earn a Statement of Accomplishment?

Participants who earn a final grade of at least 75% will be eligible for a Statement of Accomplishment.

What's the time investment?

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.

Course Credits

America's Poverty and Inequality Course was developed by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality; videos were produced by Ashley Tindell of Film Archer. We gratefully acknowledge the help of our funders: the American Sociological Association, the Stanford University Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation), and the Elfenworks Foundation. We would also like to thank Marion Coddou for her work in helping to develop the course.

  1. Course Number

    PovertyCourse - SELF PACED
  2. Classes Start

  3. Estimated Effort

    Self Paced
  4. Price