Kathryn Pettit is a principal research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where her research focuses on measuring and understanding neighborhood change. Pettit is a recognized expert on several small-area local and national data sources and on the use of neighborhood data in research, policymaking, and program development. She has conducted research on many topics, including student mobility, neighborhood redevelopment, federally assisted housing, and local housing markets and conditions.
Pettit directs the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a network of three dozen local organizations that collect, organize, and use neighborhood data to inform local advocacy and decisionmaking. She frequently presents the model and accomplishments of the network and local partners. She has produced two books on the role of data in community change: Strengthening Communities for Neighborhood Data and What Counts: Harnessing Data for America's Communities. Her current projects include a cross-site project that combines civic data and civic technology to help low-income households and a project with Data Driven Detroit exploring how to measure neighborhood change to promote inclusive development.
Before assuming her current position, Pettit worked in Urban's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, where she analyzed Internal Revenue Service data on nonprofit organizations. Pettit earned her bachelor’s degree in international affairs and humanities and her master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.