Remote video URL
In Conversation with Matt Desmond: How We Can End Poverty in America

Join the Urban Institute for a discussion about why poverty persists in America and how everyone can play a role in fighting it. 

The United States has a higher poverty rate than any other advanced democracy. A range of policies and practices have caused this persistent but urgent challenge, but so too have the decisions and actions of people in the middle and upper classes. By hoarding wealth and resources, fighting against inclusive neighborhoods, and advocating for tax breaks for the wealthy, affluent Americans have perpetuated America’s poverty problem. Pulitzer Prize–winning author Matt Desmond argues in his new book, Poverty, By America, that ending poverty will require change not only at the policy level but at the individual level.  

Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City and a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, will join Mary Cunningham, Urban’s vice president for metropolitan housing and communities policy, and Myra Jones-Taylor, Urban’s chief policy impact officer, in conversation about how individuals, policymakers, and communities can combat poverty. They will explore policies that work, the role of evidence in advocacy, strategies to drive policy and narrative change, and ways to build a movement that has tangible and lasting impact. 



  • Matt Desmond, Professor of Sociology, Princeton University 
  • Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Impact Officer, Urban Institute 
  • Mary Cunningham, Vice President for Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy, Urban Institute (moderator)


In-person check-in and lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m.

This event is available for in-person or virtual participation. Please be sure to register correctly. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, including one booster shot, is required to attend this event in-person. Please be prepared to show proof of your vaccinations upon arrival. Masking may be required.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event. 

Date & Time Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Urban Institute 500 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington , DC , 20024
View Map

  • Senior Vice President, Research Management and Program Development
  • Senior Vice President, Impact and External Affairs