Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

About NCCP

A 1-Minute Description of NCCP
Who We Are, What We Do, and What We Believe

Addressing the Challenge

Poverty is the single biggest threat to children’s healthy development.

And while direct services, such as meals or after-school programs, are essential to meeting immediate needs, policies that have large-scale, long-term impact are also required.

That’s where the National Center for Children in Poverty — NCCP — comes in.

NCCP conducts research and translates the findings into actionable recommendations that advocates and policymakers use to improve the lives and futures of low-income children and their families. We delve into issues that contribute to child poverty and make sure our ideas reach those in a position to make meaningful change that reduces the number of families experiencing hardship.

Founded in 1989 as a division of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, NCCP is a nonpartisan, public interest research organization.

NCCP: A Catalyst for Change

NCCP’s work leads to smarter policy choices in affordable housing, paid family leave, early childhood education, physical and mental health, immigration, and public benefits, among others.

Our Analyses Deepen Understanding of Poverty

  • Rigorous original research
  • Program and policy evaluation
  • Data and study syntheses


Our Resources Stimulate Advocacy Efforts

  • Research for practical applications and policy solutions
  • Unique interactive tools:
    • 50-State Policy Tracker
    • Basic Needs Budget Calculator
    • 50-State Demographics Data Generator
    • 50-State Early Childhood Policy Profiles
    • Family Resource Simulator
    • Young Child Risk Calculator
    • Child Care & Early Education
  • Research Connections Online Library


Our Findings Drive Policy Change

  • Easily accessible research
  • Innovative, research-informed interventions
  • Peer sharing in learning communities across the country
  • Online discussions that raise awareness of poverty topics
  • Technical assistance to identify evidence-based programs and practices that improve the lives of families in need

Our state-by-state data provide up-to-date information about low-income and poor children as well as policies that affect them.

NCCP research has helped improve the lives and futures of children

NCCP’s research has helped improve the lives and futures of children.

Public policies can make a difference. Just as innovative policies have dramatically reduced poverty among the elderly, so too can they improve the future of our nation’s children and families. Here are some recent examples:

3.3 million workers gained access to paid family leave in Washington state after NCCP presented findings on its benefits to policymakers.

1 million low-income families benefited when NCCP used its research to convince Illinois to double the amount of the state's Earned Income Tax Credit from 5 percent to 10 percent.

60,000 young children in New York may benefit from healthier development after NCCP's research informed a policy to allow their mothers to be screened for maternal depression during pediatricians visits and covered under the child's Medicaid.

21,000 Cincinnati children now have access to universal pre-K after NCCP modeled its impact on family budgets with our Family Resource Simulator and Basic Needs Budget Calculator. Policy Matters Ohio used the data to advocate for change, and the city passed universal pre-K in 2016 through a ballot measure.

Broad-scale change is needed now more than ever.

Policies like these, based on sound, actionable research, change the trajectory of tens of thousands — even millions — of lives. That's why we're passionate about conducting research and sharing our findings in ways that help children thrive.