Selected Publications: Neighborhood-Level Data

Last Updated: July 01, 2014

  • Catalog of Administrative Data Sources for Neighborhood Indicators: The data used to craft neighborhood indicators often come from the records of administrative agencies. are generaly timelier or can be applied to smaller areas than government surveys. This monograph describes 42 of these data sources. It begins with a brief section on recent developments in neighborhood indicators work, followed by a discussion of some of the challenges of using administrative records data for these purposes.




  • Believe to Become Master Data Sharing Agreement: Published by the Community Research Insitute, the Believe to Become (B2B) Master Data Sharing Agreement (MDSA) documents were developed between the Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Community Research Institute. The MDSA documents were developed to provide access to personally identifiable student academic records to B2B after school providers and researchers, and are offered as a template for other cities.


  • Vital Records: A Source for Neighborhood Indicators: This paper focuses on the use of vital records for calculating neighborhood indicators. Selected indicators will be described in detail along with a discussion of methodological issues and problems in interpretation.


  • Public Assistance Records: A Source for Neighborhood Indicators: Public assistance records are maintained by government agencies that administer cash assistance (i.e., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), food stamps, and medical assistance. These records can be a useful source of data for neighborhood indicators. Selected indicators are described in detail along with a discussion of methodological issues and problems in interpretation.


  • UI National Data Repository for Small-Area Data: Federal agencies produce many data sets with information about neighborhoods. Unfortunately, they are not being used to their full potential because local users have difficulty with the published format, are not aware of what's available, or don't see how it can help their work. The Urban Institute hopes to address these issues by providing free, well-documented versions of the national data files with meaningful indicators of community well-being.


  • DataPlace Guide Series: Guide to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data: The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) requires most lending institutions to report on home mortgage loan applications, including the application outcome, loan- and applicant-related information, and property location. This guide describes the HMDA original source data and the HMDA indicators available in the UI National Data Repository described above.


  • Measuring Performance: A Guidance Document for Promise Neighborhoods on Collecting Data and Reporting Results: Promise Neighborhoods is a place-based initiative intended to turn neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity. They do this by providing high-quality schools along with a continuum of services spanning from early childhood through college and enhance family and community supports. The Promise Neighborhoods Initiative model has a strong commitment to results-based planning and improvement using real-time data. This guidance document recommends data collection strategies and data system structures to ensure Promise Neighborhoods can manage and produce measurable results. While this guidance document is written specifically for Promise Neighborhoods, these recommendations can be applied to other place-based initiatives.


  • Promise Neighborhoods Frequently Asked Questions: To provide technical assistance to Promise Neighborhood grantees in developing case management systems, collecting consistent and uniform GPRA indicators, and meeting reporting requirements, the Urban Institute released the Guidance Document in February 2013. Since its release, implementation grantees have asked Urban Institute for additional guidance on collecting GPRA indicators and other activities related to Promise Neighborhoods data collection and reporting. This Promise Neighborhoods Frequently Asked Questions document compiles questions and technical assistance requests that Urban Institute has received since the release of the Guidance Document.


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