photo of Marla McDaniel
Marla McDaniel
Senior Fellow
Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population

Marla McDaniel is a senior fellow 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 inequity and disparity; low-income children, youth, and families; and the programs and policy environments that touch families’ lives. She is interested in examing how inequity across 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.

Research Areas
Children and youth
Child welfare
Social safety net
Race and equity
Health and health care
Children's health and development
Economic well-being
Neighborhoods and youth development
Social determinants of health
Kids in context
Families with low incomes
Racial barriers to accessing the safety net
Racial equity in education
Racial inequities in health
Racial inequities in neighborhoods and community development
Structural racism in research, data, and technology
Child welfare