Heather Hill
Ph.D., Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University
M.P.P, University of Michigan
B.A., Political Science, University of Washington

Heather D. Hill is an associate professor in 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 current research projects include:

Trends and consequences of income instability in households with children: Hill is using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement to study how income dynamics relate to child cognitive and behavioral outcomes.

Effects of local and state minimum wage laws: 

  • As part of the evaluation of Seattle's Minimum Wage Ordinance, Hill is leading a longitudinal qualitative study of low-wage workers with children during the implementation of the minimum wage. This project has received research funding from the Russell Sage Foundation and the City of Seattle.

  • In a study of state minimum wage laws and adult and child health, Hill is working with Jen Otten in the School of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and James Buszkiewicz, PhD candidate in Epidemiology, to analyze restricted data from the National Health Interview Survey in the Northwest Statistical Research Data Center. This project received research funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

  • Hill is an investigator in a project examining childcare teacher wages and the culture of health in child care centers (PI: Otten, SPH; Funding: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).

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.

At UW, Hill is a faculty affiliate of the West Coast Poverty Center and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology.  She also serves as a member of the Executive Council for the Population Health Initiative.

Professional Title: 
Associate Professor
Poverty and anti-poverty policy
Social policy and child well-being
Low-wage employment
Income volatility
Recent Publications: 

Otten, J., Bradford, V., Stover, B., Getts, K., Seixas, N., Hill, H.D., Osborne, C. (2019). The Health of the Early Childhood Education Workforce by Wage and Job and Center Characteristics. Health Affairs, 38(5), 709-720.

Gennetian, L.A., Rodrigues, C., Morris, P., and Hill, H.D. (2019). Income level and volatility by children’s race and Hispanic ethnicity. Journal of Marriage and Family, 81(1), 204-229.

Hill, H.D. & Romich, J. (2018). How will higher minimum wages affect family life and child well-being? Child Development Perspectives, 12(2), 109-114. DOI: 10.1111/cdep.12270

Gennetian, L., Rodrigues, C., Hill, H.D., Morris, P. (2018). Stability of income and school attendance among NYC students of low-income families  Economics of Education Review, 63, 20-30. 

Hill, H.D. (2018). Chapter Six: Trends and divergences in childhood income dynamics: 1970s-2000s. pp179-213 in J. Benson (ed.) Advances in Child Development and Behavior, volume 54. Cambridge, MA: Elsevier, Inc.

Romich, J., and Hill, H.D. (2018). Coupling minimum wage hikes with public investments to make work pay and reduce poverty. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 4(3), 22-43.

Professional service: 

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

Elected member, APPAM Policy Council, 2019-2022

Member, Evans Faculty Council, 2018-2020

Member, Faculty advisory committee, UW Faculty 2050, 2018

External Review Board Member, Social Service Review, 2015-2018.

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-

Courses taught: 

PUBPOL 526: Program Evaluation (Next offering: Spring quarter 2020)

PUBPOL 579: Child Well-being and Public Policy 

PUBPOL 572: Race & Equity in Policy and Governance (limited to first-year MPA students; Next offering: Winter/Spring quarter 2020)

PPM 500: Doctoral Professional Development Seminar (limited to first- and second-year PhD students at the Evans School)

Working Papers: 

Bruns, A., Hill, H.D., & Kahn-Kravis, T. "Low-income families' objective and subjective financial well-being: Mixed method evidence from Seattle"

Bruns, A., Wething, H*. & Hill, H.D. “Low-wage jobs and work-family fit: Perceptions and tradeoffs among working families.”

Buszkiewicz, J.*, Hill, H.D., & Otten, J. “State minimum wages and health in working-age adults using the National Health Interview Survey”

Conwell, J., Hill, H.D., & Gellner, B* “Race, income, and parental spending on children”

Hill, H.D. "Family income level, variability, and trend as predictors of child cognitive and behavioral outcomes"

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

Ybarra, M. & Hill, H.D. “The safety net and modes of maternity leave-taking among less-educated mothers”


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