How NYC 311 Pays Attention to the Poor


  • If a service request is made in a wealthier neighborhood, then those incidents hold a marginally higher chance of going unresolved
  • Incidents assigned to the departments of Parks & Recreation or Health & Mental Hygiene have the worst resolution rates amongst all city agencies
  • In the 6-month period, there was a service request made for every 9 NYC residents with a total resolution rate of 97.44%

NYC 311 Development

Research Methodology

Data Sources

  • NYC Open Data Portal: 311 Service Requests (call data), Borough Boundaries, NYCHA Developments, Street Centerlines, 2010 Census Tracts
  • American Community Survey (2013): All Borough Populations, All Country Household Income


Service Adoption & Volume

Staten Island ($145,084–250,000+) volume was 138.60% — it was excluded from the chart above to decrease extreme outliers impacting the legibility of the above chart.
  1. Staten Island, $145,084–250,000: 138.60%
  2. Brooklyn, $145,084–250,000: 19.08%
  3. Bronx, NYCHA Developments: 18.79%

Service Resolution Rate

  1. Higher Income Areas = Lower Resolution Rates
  2. Lower Income Areas = Higher Resolution Rates
There is a definitive positive trend between increasing income levels and decreasing resolution rates.

Household Density

Responsible Agency Performance

Abnormally low resolution rates (orange) and agencies bearing the most burden (green) have been highlighted.


  • NYCHA residents use the NYC 311 service at a higher rate with comparable performance to city-wide averages
  • When controlling for underlying population, NYC 311 s usage at similar rates regardless of population income levels
  • Household density has little impact on NYC 311 resolution rates
  • Residents in the highest income levels are 48.60% more likely to have incidents go unresolved compared to those in the lowest income level
  • Agencies responsible for the most service requests hold the highest performance — noticeable under-performers are DPR and DOHMH

Further Study

  • 69,975 total app requests vs. 925,391 call-in requests
  • 71.17% app resolution rate vs. 97.44% call-in resolution rate
  • iOS devices accounted for ~70% of all app requests
  • Brooklyn (34.07%) and Manhattan (27.17%) were by far the highest users of the native apps

Articles Referenced




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