United States Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC
Cassandra worked on two projects: a preliminary analysis of data from the Promise Zone Initiative and the writing of a research paper on family structure, geography and economic mobility. Her work with Promise Zones included helping with the evaluation and conducting preliminary data analysis on five sites. Cassandra focused on the demographic aspect of Promise Zones, particularly the gendered nature of poverty and the differences in the experience of poverty and disadvantage by gender. She also wrote a paper examining the changes in the geographic distribution of family patterns, specifically single motherhood, and its impact on economic mobility. The strongest predictors of upward mobility are ecological measures of family structure, such as the fraction of single parents in the area. Marital status thus has an effect on social mobility both at the individual level and at the neighborhood level. The importance of the geographic effect of family structure is a new area of study and the paper helped clarify causal effects and reveal new avenues for policy interventions.