urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Julia Isaacs

Julia Isaacs

Senior Fellow

"My work focuses on children, particularly those from low-income families, and ways to improve children's well-being and their opportunities for success later in life."

Julia Isaacs is an expert in child and family policy with wide-ranging knowledge about government programs that serve low-income families. Before joining the Urban Institute in 2012, she spent six years at the Brookings Institution, where she wrote extensively about federal spending on children, child poverty, the effects of the recession on children, and economic mobility across generations. She also was a senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research (1995-1998) and has been a visiting scholar at the Institute for Research on Poverty.

Ms. Isaacs has spent more than half her career in government, as a budget analyst at the Congressional Budget Office (1985-1995) and as a senior civil servant at the Department of Health and Human Services (1998-2006). While at CBO, she was responsible for analyzing the cost impact of legislation affecting food stamps, child nutrition, child care, and child welfare programs. At HHS, she directed a team of data analysts and researchers in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and provided HHS senior officials with quick turn-around analyses of legislative and budgetary proposals related to welfare reform, child care and other human services policies. Ever since her days at CBO, she has retained her interest in estimating program costs and impacts, and in non-partisan analysis.

Ms. Isaacs has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley.

Areas of expertise

child well-being, federal budget, poverty, economic mobility, early childhood, food assistance, cost estimation

Publications by topic:

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