National Data Resources and Files Are Released for Free Public Access

WASHINGTON, D.C., — October 04, 2010 — Municipal and county officials, service organizations, researchers, and the general public will be able to freely use a wide array of local and regional data about community well-being, DataPlace™ and the Urban Institute announced today.

Originally aggregated for DataPlace by the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, the data contain important information about mortgage lending, employment patterns, racial and ethnic composition, incomes, housing prices and rents, and more at the metropolitan, county, census tract, and address levels. The data are based on federal government sources, such as the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the Internal Revenue Service, the American Community Survey, and Zip Business Patterns.

“These files are an especially valuable resource for local researchers and practitioners,” said Margery Austin Turner, the Urban Institute’s vice president for research. “They offer key indicators for tracking community health and change.”

The data are being released under an Open Database License (ODbL). “For years, these indicators have been freely available from the www.DataPlace.org web site,” said Troy Anderson, DataPlace’s owner. “But now, we’ve taken an important step to make these data freely available for any use, anywhere, in any application, commercial or public, as long as that use attributes DataPlace.” For more information on the DataPlace ODbL attribution requirement, please go to http://www.dataplace.org/odbl.

The indicators can be accessed by experts and novices alike through easy-to-use charts and maps and downloadable files at http://www.DataPlace.org. The Urban Institute has also posted full data files from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and Zip Business Patterns at http://www.metrotrends.org/natdata/, and plans to offer more files in the coming months.

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization that examines the social, economic, and governance challenges facing the nation. It provides information, analyses, and perspectives to public and private decisionmakers to help them address these problems and strives to deepen citizens’ understanding of the issues and trade-offs that policymakers face.

DataPlace™ is an online, free-to-use geospatial data portal that enables users to identify specific areas on a map, at levels ranging from a neighborhood to the entire nation, and obtain that area’s housing and community characteristics, such as homeownership levels, demographics, and mortgage lending in various formats, including maps, tables, and charts, so that they are easily understandable for a diverse audience. This audience can then use the information to advance development and revitalization plans for neighborhoods, make decisions about their own actions, and learn and understand more about particular communities.




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