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Marla McDaniel

Marla McDaniel

Senior Research Associate


Marla McDaniel is a senior research associate in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute. Before joining Urban, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Columbia University School of Social Work. McDaniel has researched, written about, and spoken about racial disparities; low-income children, youth, and families; and the programs and policy environments that touch families’ lives. She is interested in the relationships between vulnerabilities and in how inequality across multiple domains— including health, education, and employment—has a compounding effect on overall health and well-being.

McDaniel earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Swarthmore College and worked as a case manager for youth in foster care before earning a doctorate in human development and social policy from Northwestern University.