Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Four ways to make data work better for residents

  • Standardize: Detroit synched address data across departments to better protect residents living in affordable housing
  • Humanize: Tulsa used both qualitative and quantitative data to tailor workforce development programming specifically for disconnected youth (18–24 year olds who aren’t working and aren’t in school)
  • Randomize: Rochester tested different levels of financial incentives to see how they could help low-income residents meet their savings goals
  • Stay curious: All nine cities maintained a true learning mindset throughout the work, digging deeper to understand the “why?” behind the data they gathered
Photo by Doug Zuba on Unsplash
  • Reach out to landlords, which allows for more registered rental properties and more potential to integrate services for residents (for example, on-site financial counseling and/or tax preparation services in affordable housing units)
  • Reach out to residents, including mailers with information about city services and prompts to report noncompliant or unsafe housing
  • Enforce code compliance, including a recent push for lead safety among rental units
Photo by Blake Connally on Unsplash
  • Understand: Use macro-level insights from its student database, coupled with structured interviews with coaches and students, to get a holistic view of the program
  • Prototype: Design resources to improve recruitment, coaching, and more, bringing coaches and participants back for feedback on early designs
  • Implement: Revise and roll out
  • Evaluate: Repeat a mixed-methods approach (interviews and database insights) to understand outcomes and impact
Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash



Launched in April 2019, the What Works Cities Economic Mobility Initiative supports cities as they develop, pilot, and measure the success of programs that are designed to accelerate economic mobility for residents.

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Results for America

Working with decision-makers at all levels of government to harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges.