Racial and economic inequities in the US are growing, and rapid technological change can either promote inclusion or widen this divide. City leaders can use technological innovations to manage infrastructure and improve services, communicate with constituents, and make better decisions. But they must also be aware of the challenges that come with the disruptive force of new technological advancements. This report, which is based on a literature review and interviews with experts, explores trends in four areas of technological change: smart infrastructure, shared mobility, civic technology, and technology-enhanced data analytics. The authors identify how those trends could exacerbate or mitigate inequality in cities, and we provide examples of cities that are leveraging these trends and innovations to advance equity goals. They also synthesize cross-cutting themes and recommend principles to guide local efforts to harness technological innovation and create more equitable cities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The Social Security Administration each year processes
millions of applications for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental
Security Income disability benefits. Currently, 10 states lack a second level
review process, known as reconsideration, for disability claims that are
initially denied and appealed. SSA has begun to reestablish the reconsideration
stage in these states. This move has raised concerns and broader questions
about SSA’s overall disability determination process.
In this paper the authors examine SSA’s disability
determination process and past efforts to improve SSA’s process, and challenges
and lessons for future reform. They identify a path forward that could improve
the quality and timeliness of decisions by enhancing the reconsideration
process to make it more robust, allowing better decisions to be made earlier,
while keeping long-term program costs neutral. To support this approach, they
put forward three options Congress could consider to provide sustained funding
and commitment to the agreed-upon vision for reform. These options would allow
SSA to test strategies and gather evidence to support decision making. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Since 2009, New York City has implemented the Jobs-Plus
program to increase employment and earnings public housing residents. The
program is modeled after a successful federal demonstration from the 1990s that
combines employment services, financial incentives, and community supports to
promote work. The Urban Institute evaluation of the program combined interviews
and focus groups with staff and participants with analysis of data on Jobs-Plus
participation, public housing residency, and quarterly earnings before and
after implementation. We concluded that the program provided personal,
culturally competent employment services and cultivate a network of employers
interested in hiring Jobs-Plus participants. Among participants, Jobs-Plus
increased employment by 12 percentage points and quarterly earnings by $497.
Our evaluation found mixed evidence that the program slightly improved
employment rates for residents of the targeted developments and found no
evidence that it improved earnings. We attribute this lack of impact primarily
to two factors. First, the Jobs-Plus providers might not have assisted a high
enough proportion of residents to change overall trends within the
developments. Second, our evaluation could not capture the program’s impact on
the many participants who lived in the targeted developments but were not
officially listed on the lease and were thus not included in our data. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Governors, lawmakers, and journalists often decry
constitutional and statutory formulas, federal grant requirements, and court
rulings they think excessively limit state budget decisions.
Some observers estimate as much as 70 percent of state
spending is “on autopilot,” meaning these constraints are in place before
proposals or negotiations begin.
But measuring predetermined state budget commitments is far
from straightforward. The federal government explicitly defines “tax
expenditures” and “mandatory spending” and reinforces these concepts through
the annual budget process. In contrast, few states rigorously and transparently
assess the long-term cost of tax breaks and spending programs that are either
fixed in size or will grow automatically without policy changes.
In this report, the authors perform a first-of-its-kind
analysis of how much spending was restricted or partially restricted in
California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Virginia from 2000 to 2015.
[Note: contains copyrighted material].
This is a qualitative study of low-wage workers in two
Minnesota communities who recently experienced either voluntary or involuntary
job separation. The study confronts a false dichotomy that people are either
working or on public assistance. The study analyzes workers’ experiences in
low-wage, unstable jobs, reasons for separating from jobs, and the roles public
assistance and other supports play in their lives. The study offers key
insights from workers themselves on how jobs and assistance programs may be
improved to help them achieve greater stability and economic security. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
This report presents a case study of the Chicago Housing
Authority’s (CHA’s) work requirement policy, one of a small number of work
requirements implemented by housing authorities. The report describes the CHA
work requirement, the policy’s implementation and how it has changed, and
perceptions of implementation and outcomes from key CHA and service provider
staff and residents. The CHA work requirement has been in place for nearly 10
years, allowing us to analyze implementation over time and outcomes. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Virginia’s distinctive school funding formula is made up of multiple funding streams. Each program’s funding is generally determined based on the minimum cost of meeting program and staffing requirements, and responsibility for meeting these funding obligations is split between the state and districts. In the 2017 school year, the formula resulted in slightly progressive cost-adjusted funding across districts. Changes to the existing formula generally produce modest effects on equity measures and often involve committing additional resources. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
In 2013, there were nearly 4.6 million young parents between the ages of 18 and 24 in the United States, with approximately 80 percent (3.6 million) living with at least one of their children. These young parents face a host of challenges, ranging from difficulties accessing child care, higher rates of public benefit receipt, and troubles obtaining positive educational and employment outcomes. Despite these issues, there is no overarching strategy to improve the outcomes for young parents. The Urban Institute interviewed 14 different young parent providers across the nation serving a variety of subpopulations, to understand what strategies they used to serve this population. This paper provides an overview of the strategies used to serve young parents, including methods of providing improved education and employment services, connections to support services, and parenting workshops. This paper also highlights the perspectives of service providers on what approaches are needed to serve this population, as well as their views on the many challenges young parents face. This research highlights different methods of improving young outcomes for this population, implications for policy, and where further research should focus. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
In recent decades, policymakers have increasingly focused on the importance of high-quality child care and early education services in supporting the development of low-income children. Though high-quality early care and education (ECE) can exist in any setting—including child care centers and home-based licensed and license-exempt settings—the emphasis on high-quality ECE services often translates into a singular focus on investing public funds in formal settings, especially center-based programs.
This report explores the implications of this trend in the context of the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). It focuses on four priority populations: families with parents working nontraditional schedules, families with infants and toddlers, families living in rural areas, and families with children with disabilities and special needs. The center-based market is ill prepared to meet the needs of these four populations, yet together they make up a majority of low-income children with working parents and are a priority for the CCDBG.
The report provides data on the number of low-income children in each state who fall into these categories (except families with children who have special needs) and the proportion of those receiving subsidies who are cared for in child care centers. It also discusses the barriers to care for these populations, lays out state policy strategies to increase access to high-quality care across the full range of settings for these children, and highlights key gaps in our knowledge as to how to best support access to quality for these families. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As people live longer, they spend more time in retirement, straining Social Security’s finances. This brief outlines the implications of three approaches to adjusting Social Security for longer lives: making no adjustment, which has applied over most of Social Security’s history; keeping constant the expected number of retirement years; and keeping constant the relative share of life in retirement. Compared to age 65 retirement in 1940, people under each rule would retire in 2100 at age 65, 79, and 76, respectively. The brief also shows how these calculations can be done under different assumptions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].