Claudia J. Coulton, PhD

Lillian F. Harris Professor of Urban Research & Social Change
PhD, Case Western Reserve University
MSW, Ohio State University
BA, Ohio Wesleyan University

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Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel
School of Applied Social Sciences
Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7164


Claudia Coulton is Distinguished University Professor and the Lillian F. Harris Professor of Urban Social Research, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University. She is also founder and Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development. She is the author of over 150 journal articles, book chapters and policy reports and is a frequent presenter at national conferences. Her contributions to the field have been recognized with a number of awards including induction into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.Read the rest of her bio

Course List

  • Introduction to Social Research
  • Needs Assessment and Program Evaluation

Recent Publications

Coulton, C.J. & Spilsbury, J. (In press). Community and place based understanding of child well-being. In A. Ben-Arieh, I. Frones, F. Casas & J. Korbin (Eds.), Handbook of Child Well-Being, New York/ Heidelberg: Springer.
Fischer, R. L
., Vadapalli, D., & Coulton, C.J. (In press). Merge ahead, increase speed: Bringing human services nonprofits together to explore restructuring options.Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 

Coulton, C.J., Theodos, B., & Turner, M.A.,(in press), Residential mobility and neighborhood change: Real neighborhoods under the microscope. Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research.

In The News

New Paper on Cleveland Foreclosure Uses NEO CANDO Data

Sep 23 2014

Pathways_to_foreclosure_thumbThe recently released paper “Does mortgage deregulation increase foreclosures? Evidence from Cleveland” by Yilan Xu, Ph.D. of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, uses data from the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development‘s NEO CANDO (Northeast Ohio Community and Neighborhood Data for Organizing) online database. Dr. Xu used loan and foreclosure data from the Loan Origination and Foreclosure Matched Data of Cuyahoga County, freely available through NEO CANDO.

The paper also referenced Pathways to foreclosure: a longitudinal study of mortgage loans, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, 2005–2008, a report from the Poverty Center authored by Co-Director Claudia Coulton with researchers Michael Schramm and Kirsten Mikelbank. The above map image is from this report.

Read Dr. Xu’s full paper in the journal Regional Science and Urban Economics on ScienceDirect.

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Claudia Coulton on Cleveland’s Poverty Rate in Plain Dealer

Sep 22 2014

Coulton_Claudia_200The Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted Dr. Claudia Coulton, Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, for “Decade after being declared nation’s poorest big city, 1-in-3 Clevelanders remain in poverty” on September 18, 2014. According to recent data from the Census, Cleveland’s poverty rate is 36.9 percent.  However, Dr. Coulton has explained that these numbers don’t always tell a clear story.

Ten years ago, while Cleveland’s poverty rate was lower at 31.1 percent, there were estimated to be 4000 more people living in poverty than today. Columbus was given as an example of a city that had a lower poverty rate than Cleveland yet had 42,000 more residents living in poverty.

After the Census numbers on poverty rates were released a decade ago, Coulton wrote in a Plain Dealer editorial on August 31, 2004 that cities like Cleveland were “hemmed in by long-established suburban municipalities, are particularly disadvantaged in such statistical comparisons.” Often, when Clevelanders do better economically, they and their families move out of the city itself and into the suburbs.  “If, for the purposes of calculating the impact of poverty, the boundaries of Cleveland were pushed out 5 miles in all directions, Cleveland’s ranking would be lower.” The poverty rate for the entirety of Cuyahoga County in the 2003 data was far from first place.

For more about changes in poverty and population in the region, read the Poverty Center’s Briefly Stated reports on The Changing Face of Poverty in Northeast OhioNot Dead Yet: The Infill of Cleveland’s Urban Core, and Mapping Human Capital: Where Northeast Ohio’s Young and Middle-Age Adults Are Locating. To read more of Dr. Coulton’s evaluation of Cleveland’s poverty ten years ago, see the case study “The reaction to a number: Cleveland is ranked first in poverty in 2003” from September 7, 2004 which includes several of the Plain Dealer‘s articles on this story at that time.

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Mandel School Faculty Receive $2.3 Million to Study Child Maltreatment

Jun 23 2014

NICHHD logoMandel School faculty Claudia Coulton and David Crampton, along with Case Western Reserve faculty colleagues Jill Korbin and Jim Spilsbury, received a $2.3 million grant last month from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to investigate how neighborhoods influence child maltreatment rates.

Led by principal investigator Jim Spilsbury, the team of researchers will study child maltreatment in 20 Cleveland neighborhoods, examining the role that neighborhood conditions, social service availability and use, and the maltreatment reporting process play in influencing child abuse and neglect rates. The investigators are partnering with Cuyahoga County’s Division of Children and Family Services to interview caseworkers assigned to the studied neighborhood. Residents will be interviewed, and census data, property records, social service reports and day care records will be analyzed. The study is a collaboration among the Mandel School, the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve.

The research builds upon a National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect-funded study conducted in the mid-1990s by Coulton and Korbin, which found that Cleveland neighborhood rates of child maltreatment varied widely and that neighborhood conditions such as high childcare burden, concentrated poverty and residential instability had an impact on the presence or lack of child maltreatment.

To see the full grant announcement in The CWRU Daily, click here.

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The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development

mandel center webClaudia J. Coulton, Ph.D is founder and Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development.The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development seeks to address the problems of persistent and concentrated urban poverty and is dedicated to understanding how social and economic changes affect low-income communities and their residents. Based in Cleveland, the Center views the city as both a tool for building communities and producing change locally, and as a representative urban center from which nationally-relevant research and policy implications can be drawn.. | Read More





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