About the Urban Institute
Urban's mission is to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

The Urban Institute is the United States’ leading research organization dedicated to developing evidence-based insights that improve people’s lives and strengthen communities. With nearly 50 years of expertise, Urban is a trusted resource for timely, nuanced analysis of social and economic policy.

At Urban, facts matter. We are truth-seekers. We follow the evidence, even when the direction is unexpected. That’s why policymakers and advocates across the ideological spectrum count on Urban to deliver impartial data to help shape decisions that affect every individual, city, and state.

But our work doesn’t end with the research. We translate and apply facts to today’s world — to the family struggling to make ends meet, to the small town on the brink of growth, to the community battling a public health crisis. We also collaborate with lawmakers, community leaders, corporations, and grassroots change-makers to diagnose problems, unearth solutions, and design road maps for change.

In a time of sharp polarization across the United States, Urban’s insights help deepen understanding amid division. They identify opportunities for innovation. And they have the power to transform people’s lives and communities for the better.

From the halls of a neighborhood apartment complex to the corridors of Congress, Urban scholars:

  • Discover and evaluate. Using rigorous quantitative and qualitative research, we gather data and work with communities to understand whether government programs are effective and people are making progress. Our microsimulation technology answers the “what if?” questions and forecasts the outcomes of potential changes to federal programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Assist and advise. We help federal, state, and local leaders solve problems and put policy into practice. We partner with organizations and advocates seeking to drive social change, including advising philanthropies on how to target investments for maximum impact. We work with nonprofits and local organizations to refine their strategies and measure whether their efforts are making a difference.
  • Solve and share. Our research reveals what works and what does not. Facts spark solutions. Change-makers turn to Urban for observations about current events and for new, untested ideas. We convene the best of diverse perspectives, learning and sharing as we go, and always incorporating science and evidence into our recommendations for action.