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Poverty Law Research Guide

This guide covers researching poverty law.


Poverty law has been defined as "the legal statutes, regulations and cases that apply particularly to the financially poor in his or her day-to-day life." Accordingly, the research of poverty law often draws upon materials across a wide range of legal topics and social science disciplines, including public benefits law, health care law, housing law, education law, elder law, family law, juvenile law, employment law, welfare law, and Social Security law. A broader list includes consumer law, immigration law, insurance law, domestic violence, child care, election reform, political science, economics, sociology, social policy, social work, and financial literacy of low-income people.

Since the 1990s, less scholarly work has been published on poverty law than in previous decades. Nevertheless, poverty law remains an important focus for many scholars and publishers, and interest in the subject will likely continue to grow due to new academic programs, institutional initiatives, and evolving socioeconomic conditions. Today, the Internet provides access to a great deal of current information relevant to poverty law research that would have in the past been put into print by governments, organizations, and individual authors.

This research guide contains resources that are especially helpful for researchers seeking an overview of poverty law. They include materials that deal with many or several of the main aspects of poverty law or discuss the broader topic of poverty as it relates to legal, political, and societal institutions in the United States.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of research in the subject, poverty law researchers may also find the Law Library's Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Research GuideConsumer Law and Policy Research Guide to be helpful.

References: Lillian Salinger, Poverty Law: What Is It?, 12 Legal Ref. Serv. Q. 5 (1992).