Topics That Matter

We study community trends and needs, and evaluate programs in a number of health and human service areas. Some of the areas in which we have unique or specialized information and research are: 

Criminal Justice and Violence Prevention

The health of a community is dependent on the safety of its residents. Our work in this area looks at the effectiveness of violence prevention and intervention strategies, and is particularly targeted on vulnerable and high-risk populations. Recent work includes evaluations of mentoring programs for incarcerated mothers,  a cost-benefit analysis of adult drug court in Minnesota as an alternative to processing adult drug offenders through criminal court, and a series of reports that "tell the story" of victim services in the state and suggest new directions.
Look up and Hope Program evaluated by Wilder Research, is cited in Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT report as a promising practice. View 2-page write-up with key findings.

Early Childhood

A child's early years are critical -- setting the stage for future success. Wilder Research provides a comprehensive picture of how young children and their parents in Minnesota are faring, with a special focus on low-income families. Our studies include the current state of children's health and well-being, child care use, and evaluations of the effectiveness of Minnesota's early childhood system.

More on Early Childhood in Minnesota


​All students should have the opportunities to develop the core academic and 21st century skills that will equip them to graduate from high school, pursue post-secondary education and training, make a living, and be productive citizens. Our work focuses on addressing opportunity and achievement gaps for students who are most vulnerable: low-income students, students of color, students whose primary language is not English, and first-generation college students.


Quality of life in Minnesota is intrinsically tied to the health of its residents. Our work in this area looks at prevention, treatment, and root causes of poor health. It includes community assessments around healthy behaviors, needs, and services and evaluations of programs and initiatives addressing health concerns. We also cover issues such as quality of care, health disparities, and improving access to vulnerable populations.


Stable housing and supportive services can increase a person's potential for education and employment, and enable people who are ill or disabled to move forward with productive daily living. Through our triennial statewide study and ongoing shelter-system-use reports, we provide the most current and comprehensive information and data on homelessness in Minnesota.

Mental Health

Good mental health is as important as good physical health. Mental illness can impair people's ability to work, to raise their families, and to participate in civic life. Our work is focused on identifying factors that affect mental health, especially in low-income and immigrant populations; promoting trauma-informed care; looking at mental health systems; and evaluating programs working to assist individuals with mental health issues.

More on Mental Health

Older Adults

Between 2010 and 2030, the number of adults age 65+ is expected to nearly double. Our work is focused on identifying current and potential support systems and to examine their capacity to meet the growing population of older adults.


 Speaking for Ourselves

Speaking for Ourselves: A study of communities of immigrants and refugees in the Twin Cities is the first in a series of planned annual assessments to learn more about specific communities in the Twin Cities.
Learn more


 Incorporating Cultural Elements into Research


​Former Wilder Researcher Muneer Karcher-Ramos shares his experience working with Ujamaa Place to re-work their intake process to incorporate cultural elements. Learn more