The biological consequences of growing up in poverty: neighborhoods, schools and families

A PSC Brown Bag Seminar

Colter Mitchell

Monday, 10/05/2015.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 6050 ISR Thompson St

A key focus for demographers has been the documentation of the large behavioral and health consequences of poverty. A potential mediator in the relationship of poverty and health and behavior is biology. In this talk I explore potential biomarkers and even potential mechanisms of the consequences of growing up in poverty. I move beyond the family to examine the consequences of poverty at the neighborhood and city level as well. I also explore the extent to which biology may moderate the effect of poverty on health and behavior. In general, this research suggests that poverty, while still having the strong effects it has always had, does appear to operate in part through biological pathways, and we are quickly getting better at measuring these pathways. Moreover, for some, the effect of poverty is larger than we may have previously estimated. By integrating biological and social data we gain a clearer picture of the costs of growing up in poverty.


Colter Mitchell is a Research Assistant Professor in the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. He is the Associate Director of the Bio-social Methods Collaborative and is a Research Affiliate of the Population Studies Center and the Center for Human Growth and Development. His research focuses how social context interplays with an individual's genetic, epigenetic, neurodevelopment makeup to influence their behavior, wellbeing, and health. His research also includes the development of new methods for integrating the collection and analysis of biological and social data. He has participated in data collection and analyses of biomarkers in multiple population-based studies, including: the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, Army STARRS, and the Health and Retirement Study.

PSC Brown Bag seminars highlight recent research in population studies and serve as a focal point for building our research community.

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