David Rothwell

Academic interests

My broad research interests include poverty, families, and social policy. In this work I aim to understand the mechanisms driving social and economic inequalities. I am currently researching child poverty across countries and over time, poverty measurement based on financial assets and net worth, financial stability of families with a child with a neurodevelopmental disability, and factors that influence financial capability and inclusion. Much of this work compares policies and institutional frameworks between the US, Canada, and other OECD countries.

Some examples of current research questions include:

  • What are the levels and trends of poverty over time and across the life course?
  • What are the causes and consequences of poverty and how do these vary across family structures?
  • How does social policy reduce poverty overall and for different family structures?
  • How can social policy better reduce the health consequences of poverty and economic inequality?


After receiving his PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, David completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National University of Singapore. He holds an MSW from Tulane University and BA from Pitzer College. David practiced as a social worker in mental health and community economic development. Prior to joining the College of Public Health and Human Sciences he was an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at McGill University.


The Oregon Poverty Measure: Creation and Preliminary Findings

February 22, 2019

David Rothwell, Ph.D., MSW,

In this seminar David describes a two-year project designed to develop a more valid measure of poverty in Oregon.

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