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Youngmi Kim, Ph.D.

Associate professor

Email: ykim@vcu.edu

Phone: (804) 828-3613

Postdoctoral fellow, Washington University in St. Louis

Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis

M.S.W., Washington University in St. Louis

M.A., Yonsei University, Korea

B.A., Yonsei University, Korea


Youngmi Kim, Ph.D., associate professor, is committed to reducing poverty and improving social and economic justice for those of disadvantaged socioeconomic status. She focuses on the dynamics of economic deprivation and development of effective anti-poverty strategies, with particular emphases on assets and material hardship. She aims to advance knowledge in these substantive areas and inform policy and practice through research dissemination and teaching.

She has worked on asset-building social policies and programs at both the national and global contexts. Asset-building policy is an innovative social investment strategy that promotes financial capability of individuals and families by providing institutional supports (e.g. matching fund and financial education) and reducing barriers to saving. Asset-building policy is designed and implemented in the form of matched savings account programs for long-term development, such as post-secondary education, homeownership, and microenterprise; generally known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and Child Development Accounts (CDAs).

She collaborates with a research team Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship and Downpayment for Oklahoma Kids (SEED OK), a statewide randomized experiment with newborn children randomly selected from 2007 birth records in the state of Oklahoma (funded by Ford and other private foundations). Her team shows that the CDA policy has positive impacts on financial savings outcomes, education expectations, and psychological well-being of parents and their children. She also works with global community partners to assess the Hope Plus Savings Accounts program for working poor families and the CDA (designed for low income children and those in child welfare system) in South Korea. Her scholarly work provides important evidence for CDA policy design and implementations in the US and other countries.

In related efforts to uncover a wide spectrum of economic deprivation, she examines the extent of material hardship and the adverse effects on families and children, notably food insecurity during/since the recent economic recession. Her work contributes to identifying complicated mechanisms of the “new-poor,” distinguished from the so-called traditional income-poor.


Recent and current funded projects

PI, “Identifying Social Work Practice and Policy Models in Cross-Cultural Contexts”, 2016-2017, funded by VCU - The Quest Global Impact Awards.


PI, “SEED OK intervention, Educational expectations, Material hardship, and Parental Psychological Well-being”, 2015-2016, funded by Washington University in St. Louis the Center for Social Development and Ford Foundation.


PI, “Do Household Assets Buffer food Insecurity during the Great Recession?: Empirical Evidence by Race and Ethnicity”, 2014-2016, funded by VCU - The Presidential Research Quest Fund.


PI, “A pilot study examining effects of Child Development Accounts on children’s well-being in Korea”, 2014, funded by VCU School of Social Work.


PI, “SEED OK Social Experiment on Financial Investment, Educational Expectations, and Child Development Outcomes”, 2013-2014, funded by Washington University in St. Louis the Center for Social Development and Ford Foundation.


Consultant, “Food Insufficiency, Income Volatility, and Asset Holding in Middle-Income Households: A Comparison Before and After Economic Recession, 2005-2010”, 2012-2013 (PI: Jin Huang & Co-PI: Julie Birkenmaier), funded by Saint Louis University.


PI, “Child Development Accounts and Educational Expectations: Evidence from SEED OK”, 2012-2013, funded by Washington University in St. Louis the Center for Social Development and Ford Foundation.


PI, “Evaluation of Asset-building Program for Low-income Households”, 2010-2012, funded by the Seoul Welfare Foundation.


Selected publications

Kim, Y., Huang, J., Sherraden, M., & Clancy, M. (2017). Child Development Accounts, Parental Savings, and Parental Educational Expectations: A Path Model. Children and Youth Services Review, 79 (August), 20-28. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.05.021

Kim, Y., Park, A, & Huang, J. (2017). Does food insecurity increase depressive symptoms in South Korea? Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 11, 30-39. DOI: 10.1111/aswp.12111

Rosenberg, R., & Kim, Y. (2017). Aging out of Foster Care: Homelessness, Post-Secondary Education, and Employment. Journal of Public Child Welfare. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15548732.2017.1347551

Kim, Y., Kim, K., & Lee, S. (2015). Testing the Self-Efficacy Questionnaire with Korean children in institutionalized care. Research on Social Work Practice. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049731515606219

Kim, Y., Sherraden, M., Huang, J., & Clancy, M. (2015). Child Development Accounts and Parental Educational Expectations for Young Children: Early Evidence from a Statewide Social Experiment. Social Service Review, 89 (1), 99-137. https://doi.org/10.1086/680014

Kim, Y., Huang, J., & Sherraden, M. (2014). What shapes assessment of ability to pay for children’s college education? Journal of Consumer Affairs, 48(3), 486-514. DOI: 10.1111/joca.12049

Kim, Y., Sherraden, M., & Clancy, M. (2013). Do mothers' educational expectations differ by race and ethnicity, or socioeconomic status? Economics of Education Review, 33, 82–94. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.09.007