Housing & homelessness policy researcher
Homelessness in California
Statewide Assessment of California's Homelessness Programs
In 2022–23, the Terner Center, Abt Associates, and UCSF's Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative collaborated on a statewide assessment of homelessness services, shelter, and housing programs in California. Our teams analyzed administrative data on millions of enrollments in local homelessness programs; interviewed 234 local administrators, service providers, and other stakeholders; interviewed 79 people with lived experience of homelessness; and surveyed non-profit homelessness service providers across the state. This study was supported by California's Interagency Council on Homelessness.
I was one of the lead researchers for this assessment and authored or co-authored many of our reports, which you can find here.
Selected Policy Briefs and Reports
Ryan Finnigan. 2023. "Better housing outcomes for families and veterans point to the importance of well-resourced and targeted homelessness programs." Terner Center for Housing Innovation
Ryan Finnigan. 2023. "Five Recent Trends in Homelessness in California." Terner Center for Housing Innovation
Christi Economy, Ryan Finnigan, and Marisa Espinoza. 2023. "Using Emergency Housing Vouchers to Address Homelessness." Terner Center for Housing Innovation
Ryan Finnigan. 2022. "Shelter and Safety Among People Experiencing Homelessness During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Terner Center for Housing Innovation
Carolina Reid, Ryan Finnigan, and Shazia Manji. 2022. "California’s Homekey Program: Unlocking Housing Opportunities for People Experiencing Homelessness." Terner Center for Housing Innovation
Ryan Finnigan. 2021. "Survey of People Experiencing Homelessness in Sacramento, 2021"
Ryan Finnigan. 2021. “Pandemic Compounds Hardships for People Experiencing Homelessness in Sacramento, CA.” UC Davis Center for Poverty Research
Ryan Finnigan. 2020. "Greater Resources Required to Protect People Experiencing Homelessness from COVID-19." UC Davis Center for Poverty Research
Ryan Finnigan. 2023. "Covid-19 Vaccination and Hesitancy among People Experiencing Homelessness in Sacramento, California." International Journal on Homelessness
(open-access publication) (pre-print pdf)
Ryan Finnigan. 2022. "Self-Reported Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic for People Experiencing Homelessness in Sacramento, California" Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness
Ryan Finnigan. 2021. "The Growth and Shifting Spatial Distribution of Tent Encampments in Oakland, California." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences
Work in Progress
Ryan Finnigan. "'I just can’t be out there': Gender and Perceived Safety among People Experiencing Homelessness during the Covid-19 Pandemic."
Poverty & Hardship
David Brady, Ryan Finnigan, Ulrich Kohler, and Joscha Legewie. 2020. “The Inheritance of Race Revisited: Childhood Wealth and Income, and Black-White Disadvantages in Adult Life Chances.” Sociological Science
Ryan Finnigan and Kelsey D. Meagher. 2019. “Past Due: Combinations of Housing and Utility Hardship in the United States.” Sociological Perspectives
Bill McCarthy, Angela Carter, Mikael Janson, Cecilia Benoit, and Ryan Finnigan. 2018. “Poverty, Material Hardship, and Mental Health among Workers in Three Frontline Service Occupations.” Journal of Poverty
David Brady, Ryan Finnigan, and Sabine Huebgen. 2017. “Rethinking the Demographic Risks of Poverty: Prevalences and Penalties in Comparative Perspective.” American Journal of Sociology
Ryan Finnigan. 2014. “Racial and Ethnic Stratification in the Relationship between Homeownership and Self-Rated Health.” Social Science & Medicine
David Brady, Regina Baker, and Ryan Finnigan. 2013. “When Unionization Disappears: State-Level Unionization and Working Poverty in the U.S.” American Sociological Review
Policy Briefs & Op-Ed
Ryan Finnigan and Kelsey D. Meagher. 2018. "Missed Housing and Utility Payments are Common and Persistent in the United States." UC Davis Center for Poverty & Inequality Research
David Brady, Ryan Finnigan, and Sabine Hübgen. February 8th 2018. “Single Mothers Are Not the Problem.” The New York Times
Ryan Finnigan. 2018. “Risk Factors for Poverty Are Stronger in the US than Many Other Countries.” UC Davis Center for Poverty & Inequality Research
Unstable Work Schedules & Labor Market Inequality
Ryan Finnigan and Savannah Hunter. 2022. “Policy Regulation of Precarious Work Schedules and Bottom-Up Enforcement: An Evaluation of State Reporting Pay Polices.” Social Forces
Ryan Finnigan. 2020. “Rainbow-Collar Jobs? Occupational Segregation by Sexual Orientation in the United States.” Socius
Ryan Finnigan and Savannah Hunter. 2019. “Occupational Composition and Racial/Ethnic Inequalities in Varying Weekly Work Hours,” Research in the Sociology of Work
(link to article) (pdf) (replication package)
Ryan Finnigan. 2018. “Varying Weekly Work Hours and Earnings Instability in the Great Recession.” Social Science Research
Ryan Finnigan and Savannah Hunter. 2023. "Increase Awareness and Enforcement of ‘Reporting Pay’ Policies to Mitigate Impacts of Precarious Work." UC Davis Center for Poverty & Inequality Research
Ryan Finnigan and Jo Mhairi Hale. 2018. “Growth in Irregular Work Increased Poverty During and After Great Recession.” UC Davis Center for Poverty & Inequality Research
Social Policy & Public Attitudes
Tarik Abou-Chadi and Ryan Finnigan. 2019. “Rights for Same-Sex Couples and Attitudes toward Gays and Lesbians in Europe.” Comparative Political Studies
David Brady and Ryan Finnigan. 2014. “Does Immigration Undermine Public Support for Social Policy?” American Sociological Review
Selected Media & Public Presentations
Teaching (UC Davis)
Soc 003: Social Problems
2014 through 2020
People talk about social issues being problems all the time, but what gets labeled a problem? Who decides what problems are, and why? Soc 3 will introduce you to sociological approaches to understanding social problems, which emphasize the way problems that may seem like individual troubles often reflect larger social issues. Examining these issues systematically can provide a new perspective on the origins of a given social problem, and may contradict many common sense explanations. The course surveys a variety of things that are labeled social problems (e.g., poverty, the gender pay gap, discrimination, crime/incarceration, immigration, etc.), and analyzes how they are shaped by social dimensions like race, class, and gender. The course will also address how social issues become problems, and compare and contrast current data on social problems with media portrayal and public opinion.
Soc 159: Sociology of Work and Employment
2019 through 2021
Most people in will spend a substantial fraction of their time working for most of their lives. Work also structures many people’s social lives and economic well-being. Sociologically understanding society thus requires a deep understanding of work. How do social factors like class, gender, and race shape who works, who does what kind of work, and how that work is valued? This course addresses these questions through reading sociological theories and research, case studies of particular groups of workers and kinds of jobs, and analysis of primary data on workers and workplaces.
Soc 141: Industrialization and Social Change
Many people use the term 'industrialization' in many ways. For some, industrialization was a historical process centered on changes in forms of production. For others, industrialization is a continuing process related to development and globalization. Despite such ambiguity, industrialization is often highlighted as a source of profound changes in work, economies, politics, cities, and families. Moreover, these consequences are highly varied across time and place. Soc 141 covers classical perspectives on industrialization, contemporary analyses of its consequences, and the role of (de)industrialization for patterns of inequality in the US and around the world.
Soc 295: Seminar on Stratification
2017 through 2021
This course surveys foundational and contemporary studies of stratification. Paired weeks address a topical area within stratification (e.g., class/mobility, poverty, race/ethnicity, gender). Hopefully, these pairings help characterize (a small part of) the broad sociological literature within each area. The readings can also provide a partial foundation for a qualifying exam in stratification.
Soc 046B: Intro Statistics
2015 through 2021
Sociological understandings of society and inequality can only be as good as the data they rely on. So how do we know what we know when relying on statistical information? Soc 46B introduces methods for analyzing quantitative data to help answer this question, with specific applications to classic research questions on poverty, inequality, and social mobility. We can understand quantitative information better when we know where it comes from. Soc 46B covers the relevance and practice of quantitative data analysis, the presentation of quantitative information, probability and uncertainty, basic statistical inference, and hypothesis testing. The course teaches both how to calculate relevant statistics, and to read and interpret quantitative sociological articles. Specifically, Soc 46B aims to fill UCD requirements for learning quantitative literacy. The course also provides a foundation for more advanced quantitative methods courses, like Soc 106.
Soc 12Y: Data Visualization in the Social Sciences
2018 through 2020
Introduction to quantitative data across social sciences, including organizing data, describing data sets, graphing, and visual reasoning. In this course, students learn to...
read and understand quantitative data as presented in empirical reports in the social sciences
understand the decisions around appropriate data management and summarization
produce spreadsheets demonstrating appropriate data management and summarization using current software
understand the decisions around appropriate presentation of data
produce graphs, figures, and tables using current software
describe patterns in data, draw and justify conclusions from data
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