The Urban Institute is the trusted source for unbiased, authoritative insights that inform consequential choices about the well-being of people and places in the United States. We are a nonprofit research organization that believes decisions shaped by facts, rather than ideology, have the power to improve public policy and practice, strengthen communities, and transform people’s lives for the better.

Our experts diagnose current challenges and look ahead to identify opportunities for change. And we don’t stop there. We use our research findings to help stakeholders craft relevant solutions and strategies that address today’s concerns and avert tomorrow’s roadblocks. And we share our insights in real time with influencers eager to make smarter decisions.

Our mission is to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

For more than 50 years, Urban has collaborated with philanthropists, social services providers, community advocates, businesses, and federal, state, and local leaders to


Our experts immerse themselves in communities and gather and mine data to assess whether efforts to bolster families, cities, and neighborhoods are effective. Using innovative models, we forecast how potential changes to programs could affect people’s lives. As we learn, we share—by convening the best of diverse perspectives and bringing research to life through interactive data visualization and storytelling.


Urban’s experts help government leaders at all levels put policy into practice. We advise advocates hungry to drive social change and philanthropies keen to target investments for maximum impact. We also collaborate with nonprofits and philanthropy to refine their strategies and improve how they measure whether their interventions are making a difference. Through partnerships and public engagements, we make fact-based best practices widely available.


Our research reveals what works and what doesn’t. Facts spark solutions. That’s why change-makers turn to Urban to help them address multidimensional problems with strategic approaches backed by evidence. They rely on us to provide sound, actionable recommendations for tackling complex social and economic challenges and to offer new, promising ideas for addressing anticipated barriers to opportunity.