Putting the Power of Research to Work for Women and Girls

At the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, research drives everything we do. Our nonpartisan research provides statewide data to inform public policy decisions and guide philanthropy.

Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona 2019

“The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona” provides a detailed county-by-county breakdown of the income families of 70 different configurations need to make ends meet in all 15 Arizona counties. It also documents the degree to which public supports, such as childcare assistance and KidsCare, enable families to meet their basic needs while moving towards self-sufficiency.

View the interactive Self-Sufficiency Table UPDATED with 2020 data >>

The report also reveals that financial hardship in Arizona is more widespread and severe than the federal government’s official poverty rate statistics would suggest. Many workers in Arizona have earnings that fall far short of what’s needed to meet basic family needs, even if their income is well above the official federal poverty guidelines. This is due to shortcomings in the federal guidelines, which adjust for family size but not for other key factors including where a family lives or the age of their children. The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona offers a more realistic measurement of the income needed to meet basic needs.

“We tend to see people below the poverty line as needing help and those above it as not requiring assistance,” said Diana Pearce, Ph.D., author of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona and director of the Center for Women’s Welfare at the University of Washington School of Social Work. “In reality, with flat wages and increasing costs, more and more families are struggling to survive. Even though they are working hard, they still can’t make ends meet.”

View the interactive Self-Sufficiency Table UPDATED with 2020 data >>

2019 Report 2019 Summary

The Relationship of Economic Independence and Access to Childcare for Single Moms

New research released by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, in partnership with The University of Arizona, quantifies the benefit of investing in two years of training or education for low-income single mothers coupled with childcare to impact family economic independence and generate cost-savings for the state.

In The Relationship of Economic Independence and Access to Childcare for Single Moms, researchers from the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences at The University of Arizona identify three high-wage fields projected to grow at an above-average rate, with a substantial number of openings that only require two years of training or education. By investing in childcare as a part of workforce training, families can achieve economic independence and the state can save nearly $20,000 per year per family from parents who no longer need public assistance.

  • At least 33,000 low-income single mothers in the Arizona labor force could benefit from education or training coupled with childcare.
  • 89% of Arizona low-income single mothers with children under six only have a high school education.
  • But the cost of center-based care for a toddler is $836 per month, which is more than the average apartment rent in Arizona.


2018 Research Briefing 2018 Summary

The Impact of the Recession and State Budget Decisions on Arizona's Women and Children

According to a new research report released by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Arizona Foundation for Women, policies that support child care and higher education are among the most effective ways to help low-income working families achieve economic self-sufficiency.

The research, conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute, includes data through 2013, which was utilized to analyze state-funded and administered programs that impact low-income families. Funding for specific programs suffered from substantial cuts.

  • Child care subsidies: 36% decrease & program frozen
  • Community colleges: 58% decrease in state funding
  • Universities: 39% decrease in state funding

An exception to this downward trend is a 25% increase in the number of qualifying Arizonans enrolled in AHCCCS in the last six years. As more low income individuals will have quality health care, this is expected to generally improve health outcomes, decrease infant and child mortality rates, and reduce health care costs.


2017 Report 2015 Report 2014 Report

Other Research Links

Realizing that knowledge and understanding are key in addressing the needs of women, numerous organizations conduct research programs. The information they provide is crucial for working for equality and justice at the state, national and international levels.

To have your organization’s findings listed here, please contact our Community Impact Director, Krista Millay

Arizona Foundation for Women

Center for American Women and Politics

Center for Women Policy Studies

Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Ms. Foundation for Women

National Council for Research on Women

Pima County/Tucson Women’s Commission

Southwest Institute for Research on Women

Women’s Funding Network