Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “poverty”

ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) – Search “poverty case study”

ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) – Search “poverty case study” – http://www.eric.ed.gov

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where can I learn about poverty’s relationships to witch hunts in Ghana?
  • What are some parenting characteristics among impoverished families in China?
  • Where can I find literature related to poverty?
  • What is it like to be a teacher in a high poverty area?


ERIC is a database funded by the US Department of Education and indexes many reports, journal articles and more. You’ll meet ERIC again in my appendix on Multitopic Resources.
For now, I want to highlight the usefulness of ERIC in locating personal stories of poverty. In social science and psychology, an individual story’s is often called a case study. Case studies can also include institutions, but this might be helpful as well. Items in ERIC are often freely available in full text. When this is not the case, use your local library for interlibrary loan.

Using (poverty case study) as a search in ERIC produced 1024 results. Some items that seem potentially useful to writers wanting to depict impoverished families include:

  • Seeking Better Lives by Becoming Teachers in Rural South Georgia (ED 525362)
  • Psychological Stress and Parenting Behavior among Chinese Families: Findings from a Study on Parent Education for Economically Disadvantaged Families (EJ910016)
  • Culturally Relevant Collective Responsibility among Teachers of African-American Students in a High Poverty Elementary School (ED519912)
  • Child Witch Hunts in Contemporary Ghana (EJ942490)
  • Opportunities and Challenges for Mixed Day Secondary School Headteachers in Promoting Girl-Child Education in Kenya: A Case Study of Kisumu Municipality (EJ913604)

You can limit articles by a number of criteria with the checkboxes on the left hand side of your search results.


US AID: Transforming lives

US AID: Transforming lives – http://usaid.gov/results-data/success-stories

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are typical crops for Madagascar?
  • What are some challenges faced by unregistered migrants in Kyrgyzstan?
  • What are some challenges living in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley?


Short poverty fighting success stories, admittedly with a positive spin. May be helpful in showing what sorts of situations people in developing countries find themselves in. Stories from 2011 included:

  • A Young Designer Gets Career Boost (Jordan)
  • A Woman in a Man’s Job (Afghanistan)
  • A Staunch Defender of Rural Children Living with HIV (Zimbabwe)
  • Somali Soap Opera Promotes Financial Literacy
  • A Medical Lifeline on the Border (Burma)

Stories may be browsed in order of posting.

Census Bureau Poverty Page

Census Bureau Poverty Page – https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How does the government define poverty?
  • What are the poorest areas of the United States?
  • What proportion of US children live in poverty?


Links to reports and maps on poverty in the United States. May be helpful in placing stories in high poverty areas or general background of people in poverty (demographics, access to insurance, etc). Most useful sections to writers will probably be “About Poverty”, “Publications” and “Related Sites.” “Related Sites” links to other government agencies that deal with poverty along with some nonprofit poverty research centers.

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