Poverty in Tucson Project

Tucson has one of the highest poverty rates in the country. As a result, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the city of Tucson, and local nonprofit groups are studying how poverty affects our community, and identifying ways to help struggling families.

The Poverty in Tucson Field Workshop, created by Brian Mayer, an associate professor in the School of Sociology, involves undergrads in a scientific inquiry into problems related to poverty. Students will use field research and in-class instruction to study the living conditions of Tucson's poor. They will work with other team members to interview participants; collect, record and analyze data; and present their findings to city officials and the general public.

For a complete collection of research, presentations and class information on the workshop, please visit our UA Campus Reposity page.

The workshop's goals:

  • Combine applied student learning with community-driven research
  • Educate student on poverty-related issues while enhancing professional and interpersonal skills
  • Generate data to be utilized by county, city, and nonprofit actors in addressing poverty

Participating in this course will require substantial work outside of the classroom and in doing so will provide opportunities to develop critical skills for interacting with diverse populations. Completion of this course will aid in your development of critical thinking, complex reasoning, primary research, and written and oral communication skills.

These skills will be valuable to students interested in pursuing a wide range of careers, including public services, nonprofits, public policy, journalism, politics, marketing, business, and academia.

Student responses

  • “Listening to the stories of the people in Tucson is a remarkable and unforgettable experience that comes only second to helping them out in ways that others might not get.”
  • “I was surprised by how resilient people were. People were really struggling, but they were happy and doing what they could.”
  • "It was great to be able to be a part of a research project that is actually trying to do something to reduce the amount of poverty in Tucson and in our nation." 

News Coverage