Cities must challenge U.S. Census count
Social Compact assists Cities in Census Challenges


The recently released U.S. Census once again calls our attention to a persistent problem for cities like Miami.

An accurate census count represents more than just a full accounting of who lives in our cities, it is essential to ensuring our rightful political representation in Washington and our state capitals, as well as how much of our hard-earned tax dollars come back to our local communities.

Currently, census data is used to distribute funds for over 170 federal programs in a variety of areas including housing, crime prevention, transportation, and job training. Accurate data ensures that funds are distributed to the areas with the most need.  Inaccurate date not only results in cities losing millions of dollars in both federal and state aid, but also political representation in the U.S. House and our state legislatures.

Healthy Food Access Report Released

Food Deserts Presentation

Citing Social Compact’s DrillDown reports, PolicyLink and The Food Trust release a comprehensive healthy food access report.

PolicyLink and The Food Trust are pleased today to release “The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters” – a first-of-its-kind review of all the available research data on the issue. That’s more than 130 studies conducted during the past 20 years.

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Study Finds 825,000 Adults In New York City Do Not Have Bank Or Credit Union Accounts

The New York Department of Consumer Affairs commissioned the Social Compact to provide analytical estimates of the banking patterns of New Yorkers. After receiving the Social Compacts report, the Department issued the following press release.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kay Sarlin/Elizabeth Miller, (212) 487-4283


Commissioner Mintz Kicks Off Citywide Outreach Campaign to Enroll Unbanked New Yorkers into NYC SafeStart Bank Accounts

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Jonathan Mintz today announced that more than 825,000 adult New Yorkers do not have bank accounts, but instead use fringe financial services like check cashers to pay bills, cash payroll checks, buy money orders and conduct other financial transactions. To help New Yorkers transition from using high-cost fringe financial services, DCA has created NYC SafeStart Bank Account, the City’s first banking product available to all New Yorkers.

The Citywide Financial Services Study, which for the first time quantifies the number of unbanked adults in New York City, was commissioned by DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE). In 2008, DCA’s OFE released a Neighborhood Financial Services Study, which examined banking practices in two neighborhoods – Jamaica, Queens and the Melrose section of the Bronx – and found that residents in these areas spent more than $19 million a year on check-cashing fees alone. This new study provides a complete Citywide picture of banking practices in all five boroughs, including local level data on the number and proportion of unbanked and underbanked households, locations of traditional and non-traditional financial institutions, and measure of access to financial institutions. Commissioner Mintz presented the findings at a forum hosted by the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School entitled “Banking Under the Mattress: Financial Literacy and Unbanked New Yorkers.”

“Having a bank account helps families save money, grow their assets and guard against unexpected financial emergencies. But far too many New Yorkers don’t have access to banking products that are safe or affordable, or get pushed out of the mainstream banking because of unpredictable fees like overdraft protection,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “The City has focused our resources on what is needed most – creating safe, affordable banking products. The NYC SafeStart Account is yet another way the Department of Consumer Affairs can help New Yorkers protect their money at a time when they need it most.”

Mayor Bloomberg highlighted the NYC SafeStart Account during his 2010 State of the City Address as first of its kind in the nation. The NYC SafeStart Account is an ATM-based starter account designed to help New Yorkers protect their money by avoiding costly fees, like overdraft fees or monthly fees, which City data shows is the top reason unbanked City residents do not use, or stop using banks or credit unions. The account, which can never be overdrawn, is being offered in partnership with Amalgamated Bank, Bethex Federal Credit Union, Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Capital One Bank, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Checkspring, Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union M&T Bank, Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union and Union Settlement Federal Credit Union. Any New Yorker is eligible to open a NYC SafeStart Account, which, for the first two years, includes:

* No overdraft fees
* No monthly fees, provided minimum balances are met
* Minimum balance requirements of $25 or less
* ATM Card

For more information about how to open a NYC Safe Start Account, City residents can call 311 or visit

The Department commissioned Social Compact, a leading non-profit research firm, and Acxiom, a global marketing services company, to provide analytical estimates of the banking patterns of New Yorkers for the Citywide Financial Services Study. The study includes data derived from public and private sources, including InfoBase-X data, the largest collection of U.S. consumer data available in one source.

The Department commissioned Social Compact to provide analytical estimates of the banking patterns of New Yorkers.

Hearing on Census Data and Its Use In Federal Funding

Social Compact presents testimony to the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives

On July 9, Social Compact director of external relations, Jamie Alderslade, submitted oral testimony to the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives. The Subcommittee held a hearing on “Census Data and Its Use in Federal Formula Funding.”

Alderslade, along with Mayor Carty Finkbeiner of Toledo, OH, Mayor Robert Bowser of East Orange, New Jersey, and, Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, presented testimony to Subcommittee Chair Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), and members Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) during the second part of the hearing.

Socia Compact’s testimony called for stronger partnerships between cities and the Census Bureau, and was warmly received by congressional members. The Subcommittee further explored Social Compact’s work—the DrillDown and the technical assistance to cities wishing to mount census challenges—through extensive questioning. Following the hearing, Subcommittee staff reaffirmed the importance of the relationship with Social Compact and their commitment to collaborating on a number of issues in the run up to the 2010 Census. It is likely that additional hearings will be held as Social Compact identifies new issues to be addressed.

Nonprofit counts Census errors

The Census Bureau is reporting an exodus from suburbs, but the numbers are just estimates. A non-profit called Social Compact is finding a lot of uncounted people and it’s redefining how inner-city populations are tallied. Jeff Tyler reports.

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Mayor Mallory recognizes Social Compact as one of Cincinnati’s great partners

in Cincinnati Mayor’s’ 2009 State of the City address

From the Office of the Mayor:

Mayor Mallory Delivers Optimistic State of the City Address

Cincinnati – Mayor Mark Mallory declared tonight that “the state of Cincinnati is strong and we are well prepared to face the challenges of the future.” Tonight, the Mayor delivered his fourth State of the City Address to an energetic crowd of around 900 citizens in the Duke Energy Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom.

Throughout his address, the Mayor pointed to partnerships as the key to the progress in the city, citing specific examples in the areas of job creation, public safety, the environment, neighborhood development, and youth.

“Tonight, as we have reflected on the success of last year, it is clear that our greatest accomplishments are the result of strong partnerships,” Mayor Mallory said. “We have come a long way, but we still have challenges ahead. The way we get through them is through partnerships.” The Mayor closed by calling on all citizens to “be a partner in some effort to positively change Cincinnati.”

Mayor Mallory focused much of the speech on the strength of Cincinnati’s Economy and how the city was prepared to weather the current economic climate. In addition, the Mayor made a strong case for building a Streetcar, arguing that it will bring over a billion dollars of investment to Cincinnati that will provide resources for all of the city’s neighborhoods.

The program began with testimonials by six individuals who have been partners in the City’s success: David Lombardi of the Mayor’s Young Professional Kitchen Cabinet; Jarod Jameson of the MuralWorks Program; Tim Cappell, President of Humana; Christie Bryant of the Avondale Community Council; Dante Ingram, a Streetworker in

the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence; and Kay Geiger, President of PNC Bank.
The speech will be posted on the Mayor’s website:

2009 State of the City Address.

City’s population, income higher than estimates

A study of economic trends shows that Baltimore City residents earn more than estimated but are adequately served by fullservice grocery stores. — Examiner file photo Baltimore City might have more money in its pocket than originally thought, according to a new study.

Baltimore’s average household income is $51,800, which is 23 percent higher than the 2000 Census Bureau figure, according to the Baltimore Neighborhood Market DrillDown report released Monday. The average income of homeowners who bought property in the city between 2003 and 2006 was even higher — $75,500 a year — the study found.

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San Francisco’s challenge to U.S. Census a success

Today Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that San Francisco’s challenge of the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimate for the City and County of San Francisco was a success. New figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau, found an increase in population by 34,209 for a total of 799,185. The new estimate allows San Francisco to receive more federal and state funding.

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By the Numbers: Data and Measurement in Community Economic Development

Speech given by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Greenlining Institute’s Thirteenth Annual Economic Development Summit, April 20, 2006

Urban Regeneration: Lessons from America
Lending Strategy, April 13, 2006

The Houston Chronicle, April 9, 2006

View the Santa Ana DrillDown Reports
View the Santa Ana Press Release

Image Upgrade for Santa Ana’s Core
The Orange County Register, February 7, 2006

Mary Lee Widener passes the baton to Joseph Reppert as new chair of Social Compact
National Mortgage News

Washington, DC, DRILLDOWN Neighborhood an Example of Excellence for Realtors
National Association of Realtors

View the Oakland DrillDown Reports
View the Oakland Press Release

New Report Paints Brighter Picture of Oakland
San Francisco Chronicle, August 23rd, 2005

Data Detail Vibrancy of Oakland’s Poor Areas
Oakland Tribune, August 23rd, 2005

Contra Costa Times, August 22nd, 2005

City tries hard sell on retail sites: Mayor makes case to mall developers
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 31, 2005

Houston Strikes It Big with DrillDown
Federal Reserve E-Perspectives, Volume 3, Issue 4, 2003

Washington Post 7.18.02
Washington Post, July 18, 2002

Wulfe & Co. ready to open gate on mall redevelopment project
Houston Business Journal, May 17, 2002

“. . . Wulfe turned to Social Compact, a marketing information firm in Washington, D.C., to check the data. It’s an unusual marketing information company — nonprofit with a board composed of top executives from major companies.”

“Social Compact is now studying the Gulfgate neighborhoods with a report due in a couple of weeks. It’s using data from property tax rolls, credit bureaus, building permits, cable television and cellular phone billing addresses and vehicle registrations. It’s working through existing community organizations to gain cooperation from residents. Social Compact then modifies the sophisticated business market analysis models designed for suburban markets to reflect the different characteristics of the inner city.”

More to Gulfgate than meets the eye
Houston Chronicle, June 2001

“. . . These are among the striking findings of Social Compact, an unconventional market research organization that has developed new methods of evaluating the earning and spending power of inner-city communities. Social Compact’s non-traditional, “drill-down” market analysis avoids standard market research tools such as phone surveys and interviews and door-to-door contacts. The organizations analyses are predicated on the belief that these methods undercount those people whose phones are unlisted or who rely on cell phones along with those who distrust intrustive questions from strangers and those encumbered by language barriers. ”

Measuring Spending Power in Low-Income Communities
Community Developments, Summer 2001

“. . . In a new examination of four Chicago community areas, the Washington D.C.-based Social Compact –a nonprofit coalition of corporate leaders pushing private investment in cities — found significantly more population and more spending power than previous studies. . . The basis of the Social Compact’s work is the belief that traditional evaluation tools used to measure the economic health of inner-city neighborhoods were flawed. It contends that many of those tools, such as statistical averaging across Zip codes and across three-mile rings from community centers, may work in homogeneous suburbs but fail in diverse city neighborhoods.

Cashing in, Study Says Neighborhoods are More Populous, Affluent Than Thought
Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2000

” . . . Other groups say that traditional data-gathering organizations, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Claritas Inc. and Scan U.S., muddy figures because of their collection methods. ‘The data is off, and the measuring is wrong,’ asserts Mari Gallagher of Social Compact, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit group that works to strengthen the economies of underserved neighborhoods.”

Poor Areas Have Clout, Neighborhood Buying Power Comparable to Suburbs
Crain’s Chicago Business, September 11, 2000

“The Emerging Neighborhood Markets Initiative is about creating a model that will measure the market strengths of redeveloping neighborhoods and identify strategic business partners; a model that can be applied and adapted locally to communities across the country. And the goal is to strengthen the micro-market building block: the neighborhood.”

Social Compact Makes an Impact on Chicago
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Profitwise, Winter 1999

” … The group known as Social Compact, pulled together Washington’s official data on the economic health of Chicago neighborhoods. Then it coaxed growth and revenue numbers out of private-sector companies that actually operated businesses in the same area. Two very different pictures emerged. The federal government’s ‘social case’ proved to be the private sector’s ‘opportunity.’

” … Social Compact’s findings illustrate a reality economists have been describing for years: the ‘poor’ aren’t always as incapable as Washington portrays them to be.

” … The message here is that it’s high time we all looked beyond the poverty propaganda machine to see what’s actually going on everyday in the economic life of the cities.”

Up From Poverty
Review & Outlook, The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 1998