DC Community Resource Data


(Formerly DC Open 211)

Are there Community Services where there is Poverty?

The primary objective of our project is the development of an open, interoperable directory of community resources, such as health and social service agencies. This first entails the integration of multiple different sources of data (including federal 990 data, 2-1-1 referral data, and local service agencies' own internal directories) -- which we have already accomplished. We need funding to develop institutional capacity to facilitate the use of this database over time, for which we are seeking seed funding from sources like this challenge.

As prompted by the Knight Civic Data Challenge, we explored the correspondence between social service providers and poverty levels. Using the 2012 CPS data for household size and income, we estimated the poverty rate per geographic region (MSA) for the largest cities based on the federal poverty guidelines (e.g. $23,050 income threshold for a household of 4). We compared this to the presence of "community workers" (defined to include most of the BLS O*NET occupations under "Community and Social Service Occupations") from BLS data , and region populations from census data . We used R to convert the SPSS files to csv format, and used Python to combine the BLS and CPS data based on MSA names. We cleaned some MSA names in the CPS data, since some were not standardized, and there was no MSA (or FIPS) ID provided.

We found a mismatch between concentrations of poverty and community workers. In Dallas, LA, and Miami, with poverty rates > 15%, there are over 35 people in poverty per community worker while Boston and Philadelphia, with poverty rates < 15%, have less than 15. This suggests an inverse relationship between service density and potential people in need.

Given anecdotal evidence from non-profit organizations in DC participating in this project, it appears the challenge of finding information about resources appears to be universally shared among service providers and residents themselves.

We believe there is great opportunity for a viable open resource directory system to not only improve referral processes but also help identify and target such regional mismatches between need and capacity.

This chart shows the concentration of community workers to poverty rate. Each bubble represents a metropolitan area, with the size corresponding to total population.

Internal Links/Code:
Data for this Chart
Code for this Analysis
Project Background
Background on Ppt (In Progress)

Aunt Bertha
The Bridge Project
National Center for Charitable Statistics
Bread for the City
Martha's Table