Our Vision

The Urban Institute’s mission is to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions rooted in economic and social policy research. To advance our mission, we must attract and support a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, talents, and thought. We must foster an inclusive workplace, where all staff feel respected, heard, engaged, and valued. We must learn from and include in our research the experiences of the people and communities at the heart of the issues we study. These efforts are critical to the health, vibrancy, and relevance of our institution and, most importantly, to the excellence of the data and evidence we deliver.

Our Goals

Improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Urban became a formal institutional priority in 2016, after we adopted Urban's first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap. The roadmap outlines our aspirational vision, sets concrete objectives through 2020, identifies actions toward each objective, and assigns responsibilities to various leaders across the organization. It establishes goals for three mutually reinforcing domains:

  • Staff composition. Urban will recruit, attract, and retain diverse staff—including from historically underrepresented groups—with the full range of competencies needed to excel at our mission.
  • Workplace culture. Employees of differing backgrounds and perspectives will enjoy a community of mutual respect, inclusivity, and collegiality at Urban and know that diversity is valued.
  • Research content and communication. Urban will produce rigorous research that conveys respect for all people, avoids the perpetuation of stereotypes, acknowledges relevant historical and social contexts, and engages diverse audiences.

For the past four years, the roadmap has guided our DEI efforts and provided clear mechanisms for holding ourselves accountable for actions and outcomes. This year we are developing our next five-year roadmap.

Below, we share the 2020 data on one domain of the roadmap—the composition of Urban’s leadership and staff by race, ethnicity, gender, and generation. We also share similar composition data for our board of trustees. Though we have made some progress toward our vision, the data show we still have a considerable distance to go. You can view more data on our DEI journey over the past four years here.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION ARE CRITICAL TO PREPARING US FOR THE WORK AHEAD AND ENSURING OUR CAPACITY TO ELEVATE THE DEBATE, STRENGTHEN COMMUNITIES, AND IMPROVE LIVES.

SARAH ROSEN WARTELL

Breakdown by Race

Race over time

Race all staff

Race Board of Trustees

Race all levels

Breakdown by Gender

Gender over time

Gender all staff

Board of Trustees Gender

Gender All Levels

Breakdown by Generation

Generation all staff