Nancy Rankin

Nancy Rankin

Vice President for Policy, Research and Advocacy

Joined CSS: 2001, and rejoined in 2011

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Departments & Programs

The Unheard Third


Nancy Rankin leads CSS's research on labor, youth, transit, and housing issues, using rigorous analysis to advance policies that increase economic security and upward mobility for low-income New Yorkers. More than a decade ago, she inaugurated The Unheard Third, an annual survey that tracks the hardships and views of low-income New Yorkers. The findings have helped shape CSS’s agenda and become a widely relied on source of data for the media and policy-makers. Policy proposals she developed have drawn editorial support from major papers, including the New York Times and the Daily News. Nancy currently leads a coalition advocating half-price subway and bus fares for New Yorkers living in poverty. She played a lead role in passing New York’s statewide paid family leave law, the most robust program in the nation. And her earlier research first identified the widespread lack of paid sick days among low-wage workers and its impact on family economic security and health. As one of the leaders of the successful paid sick days campaign in New York City, she helped pass the 2013 and 2014 laws that now provide this basic labor standard for over a million workers who previously lacked even a single day of paid sick leave. 

Nancy has written and spoken extensively on issues affecting low-income working families. Her opeds have appeared in the NYT, the Daily News, and the Albany Times-Union. She coined the term "on-ramps" to explain the need to create ways for women who have taken time out for child-rearing to re-enter the career highway. The term has since gained widespread currency and many firms have implemented on-ramp programs. She is the co-author of Taking Parenting Public, a book used at Brown, Princeton, and other universities.

Earlier in her career, Nancy was a management consultant and held positions in New York State and City government. She created New York State's pioneering Enriched Housing program that provides an alternative to institutionalization for the frail elderly. A graduate of Cornell, she received her Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. She is immediate past President of the board of DOROT, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes volunteers to reduce social isolation and provide practical help for the frail elderly. She Chairs the board of the New York Paid Leave Coalition and serves on the board of the Fiscal Policy Institute. 

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