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Social Workers Count

Numbers and Social Issues

Michael Anthony Lewis

Publication Date - 06 December 2018

ISBN: 9780190467135

224 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Social Workers Count provides social workers and those in neighboring disciplines with the background necessary to engage the quantitative aspects of policy and social issues relevant to social work.


Social work students are often required to take courses in the domain of quantitative literacy, but struggle with the relative inattention to policy and social issues of special significance to professional social workers. These courses, as well as the books written for them, may also present mathematical demands many social workers are unprepared to meet. However, issues such as poverty measurement, adjustment of the purchasing power of social welfare benefits, demographic strains on the Social Security program, and probability theory as a means of estimating the likelihood of child abuse or neglect represent only a few of the many quantitative problems related to the concerns of professional social workers. Written in an accessible style, Social Workers Count provides social workers and those in neighboring disciplines with the background necessary to engage the quantitative aspects of policy and social issues relevant to social work.


  • Provides an accessible (re)introduction to the basic mathematical concepts on which many core social welfare policies and programs are built
  • Gives students the language and tools necessary to understand and evaluate the numbers behind policies, thereby deepening their appreciation for what is at stake
  • Prepares future social workers to take part in debates and discussions on policy and social issues relevant to social work

About the Author(s)

Michael Anthony Lewis, PhD, MSSW, is a social worker and sociologist on the faculty of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He's also co-author of Economics for Social Workers, co-editor of The Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee, and co-founder of United States Basic Income Guarantee, an organization of academics and activists interested in promoting discussion of Universal Basic Income.


"What a wonderfully clear and informative book! I found myself learning about things I should have learned long ago but didn't, like what balance sheets are or the nitty-gritty of how the Electoral College works. Michael Lewis is a friendly, easy-going guide to all of these and so much more. He's the civics teacher (and math teacher, social science teacher, and economics teacher) we all wish we had." -Steven Strogatz, Professor, Department of Mathematics, Cornell University; Author, The Joy of x

"Social Workers Count is a wonderful introduction to the quantitative reasoning and technique that is so often necessary to the understanding of social welfare policy. Written in a conversational tone and ranging over all of the most important social welfare policy issues, Lewis' analysis is nuanced and precise, and his logic impeccable. After reading this book, social workers need no longer be silenced or intimidated by the prospect of a quantitative approach to this subject matter." -Joel Blau, Professor Emeritus of Social Policy, School of Social Welfare, Stony Brook University

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1. Arguments and Social Issues
    Chapter 2. The Math You Need to Know
    Chapter 3. Measurement and Social Issues
    Chapter 4. Demography and Social Issues
    Chapter 5. The Mathematics of Personal Finance
    Chapter 6. The Mathematics of Budgets
    Chapter 7. Probability and Social Issues
    Chapter 8. Statistics and Social Issues
    Chapter 9. The Mathematics of Political and Social Decisions


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