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Senior Economist

We are seeking a Senior Economist to lead the development and expansion of Child Trends’ new center focused on child poverty. Child Trends is meeting the country’s moment by creating a new center that will produce and promote a steady supply of timely data analyses related to child and family poverty; provide state and local policymakers and advocates with customizable data on child poverty; amplify the voices of youth, young adults, parents, and communities; and mine big data and use data science methods for insights and analyses that add to our understanding of families’ and young people’s experiences of poverty and of the larger policy landscape.
We are seeking a leader and researcher who is focused on transformation to partner across the organization and to play a key role in the development of applied research center that informs policy and programs aimed at addressing and reducing child poverty.  
We offer you a national platform to serve as a thought leader, to engage in and help shape our research on child poverty and other areas of strategic growth, as well as a workplace that uses teamwork to concentrate your time on your strengths. We offer enormous flexibility and have consistently won great-place-to-work awards because we know that when you achieve your mission, we achieve ours.
The ideal candidate will have deep knowledge of child poverty, strong familiarity with safety net programs for children and families, demonstrated thought leadership, and a strong set of quantitative skills including simulations and modeling and familiarity with national data sets used to measure, track, and understand child poverty. Equity must be at the center of a candidate's approach. 
We strongly encourage individuals from populations that are historically underrepresented in research and academic fields (e.g., first-generation college graduates, people of color, first-generation immigrants) to apply.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Develop a line of inquiry and work that seeks to apply the tools of research, analysis, evaluation or technical assistance to improve the lives of children and youth
  • Conceptualize, design and implement research on a wide range of issues relating to how families, the economy, and social policies contribute to the economic mobility and wellbeing of America’s children and families. 
  • Lead the development of microsimulations to examine projected impacts of the economy, government policies and programs, and contextual and demographic factors on child poverty and other indicators of child wellbeing.
  • Write products (e.g., briefs, reports, data points, etc.) that influence policymakers, practitioners, or target audiences.
  • Serve as a thought leader in the broader field, presenting research findings and insights to stakeholders, including testifying before legislative bodies, providing briefings and other assistance to policymakers and other public officials, and engaging with other thought leaders and influencers. 
  • Must possess a clear understanding of how historic and ongoing systemic inequality has led to disparities in access to safety net program and to the prevalence of child poverty across racial and ethnic groups, immigrant status, and other key sociodemographic characteristics 
  • Fundraise to support the line of work and related staffing
  • Work closely with Child Trends’ communications and policy staff to disseminate research findings to policy and programmatic communities, the media, and other researchers.
  • Serve as principal investigator or project director for one or more projects.
  • Select appropriate analytic techniques and develop statistical analysis plans for projects. 
  • Serve as a mentor for research staff.
  • Support Child Trends’ great-place-to-work environment.
  • A Ph.D. in Economics, and 7+ years post-doctoral job experience. Applicants with a Master’s degree or other relevant degrees will be considered, but additional experience will be expected. 
  • Deep substantive knowledge of child poverty and one or more of the following substantive areas of economic well-being: public programs and income supports (e.g., EITC, SNAP, TANF, Child Tax Credit, Unemployment Insurance, Stimulus payments, Social Security Disability Insurance); food insecurity; housing insecurity and homelessness; health care access; child care and early childhood education; education and job training; employment; economic mobility; COVID-19/pandemic recession; labor market/economy; systemic and structural inequalities.
  • Expertise in designing research studies, including determining appropriate study designs and methodology. 
  • Strong quantitative or mixed methods skills with demonstrated expertise in econometrics methods used for causal inference, designing and executing microsimulations, and using analytic software packages such as SES, Stata, and R.
  • Strong policy analysis skills.
  • Experience with large, nationally representative survey and administrative data, e.g., Current Population Survey (CPS), American Community Survey (ACS), Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).
  • Demonstrated thought leadership; individual must have made a significant contribution through their research to the field, policy, or program practices. 
  • Demonstrated success fundraising for ideas and work; 
  • Proven skill leading research team.
  • Proven ability to execute and complete projects on budget and on time. 
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to communicate and translate complex concepts to a broad audience.
  • The ability to balance priorities across multiple projects. 

How to Apply:
 Please follow the “apply” link to submit your application. When asked by the system to upload resume, please upload one document that includes your resume, cover letter, transcripts, a writing sample and contact information for three professional references. Materials must be combined into one document in order to be uploaded. If you have any difficulties with this process, please email the requested materials to recruitment (at) and make sure to reference the position in the subject line. No phone calls please!   
Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center headquartered in Bethesda, MD with more than 200 staff in over 28 states that provides valuable information and insights on the well-being of children, youth, and their families. For more than 40 years, policymakers, funders, educators and service providers in the U.S. have relied on our data and analyses to make better decisions and policies on programs serving children, families, and youth. 
Child Trends is committed to hiring, retaining, and promoting staff who bring a rich diversity of experience to support our mission of improving the lives and prospects of children and youth, especially those made most vulnerable by the effects of historical and ongoing systemic discrimination. Together, we envision a world in which a child’s race, ethnicity, family income, gender, sexual orientation, disability status or any other social identity does not determine how that child will fare in life. Therefore, we approach every aspect of our work with these ideals in mind and encourage professionals who share in our commitment to apply.  
Child Trends is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. Protected veterans and individuals with disability encouraged to apply.