Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress unveil new tool to assess city’s development

The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University helped develop a new tool to track housing shifts and economic mobility in the city of Cleveland.

The Poverty Center partnered with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress to create the Progress Index as a way to help residents—as well as community development and service organizations—better understand their neighborhoods.

“The idea is to position programs and investments to have the greatest impact,” said Claudia Coulton, co-director of the center at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. “Equipped with trend data, communities can engage in well-informed conversations and chart a realistic course of action.”

Coulton said the initiative fits within the center’s scope as a resource for data to help communities address poverty.

The free tool, which will be primarily used by neighborhood development corporations, is now available online. Users can access and examine citywide data or narrow the focus to neighborhood-level facts and figures.

Data presented within the Progress Index supports two key progress metrics: property and income data. Users can evaluate how individual neighborhoods progress over time by monitoring population, safety, stabilization, community, health, education, workforce and economy.

The Progress Index will track and monitor neighborhood statistics, with updates expected each year. A new “State of Cleveland’s Neighborhoods” report, derived from this data, is expected in late-summer 2018.

Harnessing big data for social good

Coulton said efforts to tackle society’s most persistent problems often are ineffective or move slowly in part because accessing social data required to analyze needs and solutions is so difficult.

“Advances in information technology and access to social-service administrative data make it possible to develop data systems to help devise and evaluate social policy,” she said.

The Poverty Center already maintains two integrated data systems for its research.

  • NEO CANDO (Northeast Ohio Community and Neighborhood Data for Organizing) system is a free and publicly accessible system that integrates social and economic data from the census and local agencies.
  • CHILD (Childhood Integrated Longitudinal Data) is a secure, private system of linked administrative records on children in Cuyahoga County born after 1992.

For more information, contact Colin McEwen at colin.mcewen@case.edu