Susan Mayer is Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the College.

She has been a member of the Institutes of Medicine; the Board on Children, Youth and Families; the Board of Directors of Chapin Hall Center for Children; and the Board of Advisors for the Pew Charitable Trust Economic Mobility Project. Mayer is the past director and deputy director of the Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.

Much of her research focuses on the measurement of poverty, the effect of growing up in poor neighborhoods, and the effect of parental income on children's well-being.

She is currently doing research on intergenerational economic mobility and on using behavioral insights to help low-income adults become better parents.