If they are to succeed, efforts to increase economic mobility and narrow the racial wealth gap in the United States require better collection, disaggregation, and sharing of data, a report from the Markle Foundation finds.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and based on interviews and working group sessions with experts, the report, Unlocking Responsible Access to Data to Increase Equity and Economic Mobility (30 pages, PDF), found that much of the economic data generated by federal agencies is difficult to access, not timely or geographically focused, and insufficiently disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, and other key variables to make it useful for measuring and addressing income and wealth disparities. As a result, policy makers struggle to understand which populations in which locations are most in need of support; what kinds of support, programs, or policies will be most effective in increasing mobility; and whether policies that have been implemented policies are having the intended impact. The report also argues that lack of community engagement in government decisions about which data to collect and disseminate, how to advance data privacy and access, and which research questions to prioritize has led to growing public distrust of such efforts, in turn limiting opportunities to leverage data to improve outcomes.

Read the report >>


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