The Urban Institute
is a Washington, D.C.
based nonpartisan think tank that collects data
, conducts policy research
, evaluates social
programs, educates the public on key domestic issues, and provides advice and technical assistance to developing governments abroad.
The Urban Institute measures effects, compares options, shows which stakeholders get the most and least, tests conventional wisdom, reveals trends, and makes costs, benefits, and risks explicit.
History and funding
The Institute was established as an independent organization in 1968
by the Lyndon B. Johnson
administration to study the nation’s urban problems and evaluate the Great Society
initiatives embodied in more than 400 laws passed in the prior four years. Gradually, its research and funding base broadened.
Today, federal government contracts provide about 72 % of the Institute’s operating funds, foundations another 26 %, and state and local governments and private individuals the rest. Some of the Institute’s more than 100 private sponsors and funders include The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Some 225 studies and evaluations were under way in 2006 at the Institute. These include new series of studies on retirement
in America, analysis of who gets the Child Tax Credit
, work on factors raising the costs of Medicaid
and health care
costs more generally, roundtables on working families and their children, reports on immigrant
children in US schools
, and briefing papers on rebuilding families and communities in Hurricane Katrina
’s aftermath. The organization has also put substantial research into the issue of prisoners
removed from prison and the effect this has on the prisoner, and on the whole family and problems it can possibly create.
The Urban Institute International Activities Center (IAC) is recognized as among the world’s leading institutions providing technical assistance in decentralization and local governance. UI is currently implementing more than 40 projects in over 20 countries across four continents.
Urban Institute's staff of 400 works in ten research centers: the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy; the Metropolitan Housing and Community Policy Center; the Health Policy Center; the Education Policy Center; the Income and Benefits Policy Center; the International Activities Center; the Justice Policy Center; the Assessing the New Federalism project; and the Labor, Human Services, and Population Center. The Institute also houses the Urban Institute -Brookings Institution
Tax Policy Center, the National Center for Charitable Statistics, and Urban Institute Press
. In 2005, the Institute worked in all 50 states and roughly 25 countries.
The Institute’s president is Robert D. Reischauer, former head of the Congressional Budget Office
. Dr. Reischauer succeeded William Gorham, founding president, in 2001. Most Urban Institute researchers are economists
, social scientists
, or experts in public policy
and administration. Others are mathematicians
, city planners, engineers
, computer experts, or scientists
. A few have backgrounds in medicine
, or arts and letters. Unique among the nation’s largest research
organizations, the Institute is 63 % female, and six of the ten research center directors are women; 25 % of the staff is minority.
Board of Trustees
In 2007, Board members are: Joel L. Fleishman (Chairman), Robert M. Solow
(Vice Chairman), Dick Thornburgh
(Vice Chairman), Afsaneh Beschloss
, Jamie S. Gorelick
, Richard C. Green, Jr., Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Robert S. McNamara
, Charles L. Mee, Jr.
, Mary John Miller, Melvin L. Oliver, Robert D. Reischauer, Louis A. Simpson, and Judy Woodruff.