Heather Hill

Heather D. Hill

Ph.D. Program Director;
Faculty Council Chair

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 has studied how income level and variability, and family wealth inequality affect children.

Evaluation of the Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave program: Hill has led multiple studies related to the WA Paid Leave program, funded by the Perigee Fund and the Washington Department of Health and the Washington Employment Security Department. A recently completed study surveyed and interviewed parents in Washington who had used the program for medical leave (own health) or family care leave (a family member’s health).  An ongoing study is using administrative records and interviews to examine how eligibility for job protection affects worker take-up of the paid leave benefits.

The effects of state Earned Income Tax Credits on multiple forms of violence: This project completed between 2018-2021 was led by Professor Ali Rowhani-Rahbar in Epidemiology at UW, and funded by the Centers for Disease Control.

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 , the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, and the Center for Statistics and Social Sciences 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.

Buszkiewicz, J.H., Hajat, A., Hill, H.D., Otten, J.J. & Drewnowski, A. (2023). Racial, ethnic, and gender differences in the association between higher state minimum wages and health and mental well-being in US adults with low educational attainment. Social Science & Medicine, 322

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.

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

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. & Hill, H.D. (2021). Labor Force Transitions, Income Changes, and Poverty Entries among Older Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. IRP21-01 Working Paper Center for Financial Security. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Freitag, C., Romich, J., Pelletier, E., Hill, H.D., Allard, S. “Minimum wage increases and SNAP participation: Lessons from Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance.”

Hill, H.D., & Wething, H. “Worker Knowledge of the Minimum Wage: Qualitative Evidence from Seattle on the Learning Costs of Labor Regulations.”

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

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

Research & News Highlights

Centers and Initiatives