Margaret C. Simms is an Institute fellow at the Urban Institute and director of the Institute's Low-Income Working Families project, a research initiative exploring challenges faced by 9 million families and their 19 million children.
A nationally recognized expert on the economic well-being of African Americans, Simms spent 21 years with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in several leadership positions. Most recently, she was appointed vice president for governance and economic analysis in 2005 and served as interim president in 2006. She began working at the Joint Center, one of the nation's premier think tanks dealing with public-policy issues of concern to African Americans and other communities of color, in 1986 as deputy director of research.
Simms, who earned a master's degree and doctorate in economics at Stanford University, was a senior research associate at the Urban Institute from 1979 to 1986 and directed the Institute's Minorities and Social Policy Program from 1981 to 1986.
She was a faculty member at Atlanta University from 1972 to 1981, teaching first in the School of Business Administration and then serving as chair of the economics department. She also taught at Clark College (Atlanta) and the University of California at Santa Cruz. In 1977 and 1978, she was a Brookings economic policy fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Simms has also edited many books and monographs, including Job Creation Prospects and Strategies (with Wilhelmina Leigh), Economic Perspectives on Affirmative Action, and Slipping Through the Cracks: The Status of Black Women (with Julianne Malveaux). She was editor of the Review of Black Political Economy from 1983 to 1988 and board chair of the Institute for Women's Policy Research from 1993 to 1998. She served as president of the National Academy of Social Insurance from 2007 to 2009. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recently served on the National Research Council Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States. The National Economic Association presented her with the Samuel Z. Westerfield Award in 2008 and Carleton College awarded her an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2010.