Heather D. Hill

Ph.D. Program Director

Heather D. Hill is a Professor and Director of the PhD Program in Public Policy and Management at the Evans School. Her research examines how public and workplace policies influence family economic circumstances and child wellbeing in low-income families. She brings an inter-disciplinary lens to these topics, integrating theoretical and methodological insights from developmental psychology, economics, and sociology. Hill’s recent research projects include:

The implications for children of growing inequality in income and wealth. In multiple projects alone and in collaboration, Hill is studying how income level and variability, and family wealth inequality affect children.

Evaluation of the Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave program: Hill is leading a sub-contract with the Washington Employment Security Department, which administers PFML, to plan and conduct evaluation activities related to this new insurance program.  Funding for this project was provided by the Perigee Fund and Pivotal Ventures.

The effects of state Earned Income Tax Credits on multiple forms of violence: This project is led by Professor Ali Rowhani-Rahbar in Epidemiology at UW, and funded by the Centers for Disease Control: https://csde.washington.edu/news-events/ali-rowhani-rahbar-and-heather-hill-awarded-u01-to-investigate-eitc-and-violence-prevention/.

Hill received a Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University in 2007. She also has an MPP from the University of Michigan and a BA in Political Science from the University of Washington. Hill spent three years as a research analyst at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. in Washington, DC., and two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Ivory Coast.

Hill is a faculty affiliate of the West Coast Poverty Center and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington and the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

In her spare time, she reads, gardens, hikes, and eats oysters.

Hill, H.D. & Pelletier, E. (2023). Inequality in Parental Work Around a Birth: A Policy Opportunity for Paid Family and Medical Leave. Evans Research Brief #2023-1.

Moe, C.A., Kovski, N., Dalve, K., Leibbrand, C., Rivara, F.P., Mooney, S.J., Hill, H.D., Rowhani-Rahbar, A. (2022) Cumulative Exposure to the Earned Income Tax Credit in Childhood and Risk of Conviction in Adolescence: A Retrospective Cohort Study. JAMA Network Open, 5(11), November 18.

Dalve, K., Moe, C.A., Kovski, N., Rivara, F.P., Mooney, S.J., Hill, H.D., Rowhani-Rahbar, A. (2022). Earned Income Tax Credit and Youth Violence: Findings from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Prevention Science, Advance online publication, Aug 2.

Kovski, N.L., Hill, H.D., Mooney, S.J., Rivara, F.P, Rowhani-Rahbar, A. (2022) The Short-Term Effects of Tax Credits on State-Level Rates of Reported Child Maltreatment in the United States, 2015-2018. Pediatrics.

Freitag, C. & Hill, H.D. (2022). 1 in 6 US kids are in families below the poverty line. The Conversation, May 20.

Hill, H.D. & Rowhani-Rahbar, A. (2022). Invited Commentary: Income Support as a Health Intervention. JAMA Network Open, 5(1).

Gibson-Davis, C. & Hill, H.D. (2021). Childhood Wealth Inequality in the United States: Implications for Social Stratification and Wellbeing. RSF: Russell Sage Foundation Journal of Social Sciences, 7(3), 1-27.

Hill, H.D. (2021). Family Income Level, Variability, and Trend as Predictors of Child Achievement and Behavior. Demography, Advance online publication July 1.

Kovski, N., Hill, H.D., Mooney, S., Rivara, F. & Rowhani-Rahbar, A.  (2021). The Generosity of State Earned Income Tax Credits and Rates of Child Maltreatment Reports and Substantiations (2004-2016). Child Maltreatment. Advance online publication, January 19.




Deputy editor, Demography, 2022-present

Chair elect, Evans Faculty Council, 2022-2023.
Elected member, APPAM Policy Council, 2019-2022
External Review Board Member, Social Service Review, 2015-present.
Chair, Primary Research Area on the Wellbeing of Families and Households, Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, UW, 2017-

Member, Executive Board, Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, UW, 2017-


Appointed member, Executive Council, UW Population Health Initiative, 2019-2022.

Member, Faculty advisory committee, UW Faculty 2050, 2018

Freitag, C., Romich, J., Pelletier, E., Hill, H.D., Allard, S. “Minimum wage increases and SNAP participation.”

Hill, H.D., Romich, J. & Frietag, C. “Making Sense of Effective Marginal Taxes: How Low-Income Working Families in Seattle Experience the Interaction between Earnings and Public Assistance.”

Hill, H.D., & Wething, H. “Will everything go up? Worker knowledge and interpretation of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance.”

Hubert G. Locke Diversity Award (2018) – Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

Research & News Highlights

Centers and Initiatives