Ruby Mendenhall

Personal profile

Research Interests

Ruby Mendenhall is a Professor in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She is also an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology and the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.  In 2004, Mendenhall received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy program from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.  For her dissertation, Black Women in Gautreaux’s Housing Desegregation Program: The Role of Neighborhoods and Networks in Economic Independence, she used administrative welfare and employment data, census information, and in-depth interviews to examine the long-run effects of placement neighborhood conditions/resources on economic independence. 

Professional Information

Mendenhall research focuseson issues of social inequality over the life course and the role of publicpolicy and individuals’ agency in facilitating social and economicmobility.  She uses quantitative andqualitative methods to analyze administrative welfare and employment data,census data, in-depth interviews, and focus group data.  Her multi-site research study, Investing in Enduring Resources using theEarned Income Tax Credit, examines how low- to moderate-income families usetheir EITC for social and economic mobility in Champaign and Boston.  She also does research on the GautreauxAssisted Housing Program in Chicago, which is one of the nation’s largestdesegregation programs.

Office Address

3073 Lincoln Hall
702 S Wright Street
Urbana IL 61801
M/C 454

Office Phone


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