Privacy Policy

The Urban Institute (“Urban”) is committed to respecting and maintaining the private information of visitors to our websites (“Sites”).   This Privacy Policy has been adopted to address the collection, storage, and use of personally identifiable information obtained through your use of the Sites. 


Collected information

Urban gathers two types of information when users interact with our Sites: 1) Personal information you give us; and 2) Non-personal information we passively collect or receive when you use our services. 

Personal Information You Give Us:

Visitors may provide Urban with non-personally and personally identifiable information in order to utilize certain services, use Urban’s web properties, and retrieve information.  Such instances may not be noticeable to the user and include, but are not limited to: filling out surveys, purchasing goods and services, commenting, making donations, referral services to tell a friend, and submitting certain online forms.

Billing and Credit Card Information

Urban’s Sites use third-party vendors, including Rowman & Littlefield, Wufoo, Stripe, Eventbrite, and Salesforce to manage and process purchases, donations, event registrations, and email contacts/newsletters.  Urban does not collect or store names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, credit card information, or other billing information for purchase transactions but can access and download this information from our third-party vendors for internal use. Privacy policies for our third-party vendors can be found here: 

User Generated Content (Comments)

Some of our Sites offer you opportunities to engage in public activities that are designed to be visible to other users, such as comments.   If you choose to engage in public activities, you should be aware that any personal information you submit and disclose can be read, collected and used by other users of these areas. We are not responsible for the personally identifiable information you choose to submit in the course of your public activities and we have no responsibility to publish, take down, remove or edit any of your public activities or submissions.

When you share or recommend links to content on a third-party platform (such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter), that action and any information you share will be covered by their privacy policy.

Emails from You

If you send us emails, you should be aware that information disclosed may not be secure or encrypted and thus may be available to others.  We suggest that you exercise caution when deciding to disclose any personal or confidential information in emails. We will use your email address to respond directly to your questions or comments.

Non-Personal Information We Passively Collect

When a user visits one of Urban’s Sites, some information such as the visitor’s Internet protocol (IP) address, Internet service provider, operating system, the site from which the visitor arrived, and the time and date of the user’s visit may be collected automatically as part of the software operation of the website. This intake of information is generally not personally identifiable.  


Our Sites make use of "cookies" in order to identify user sessions and maintain information within sessions. We use a limited duration (24 hour) cookie that allows us to keep track of user information within the session to identify privileges and preferences of the user; this type of cookie is used, for example, when users register in order to gain access to public use data files and then log in to use or download the data. We do not use cookie information to identify users in any way except as noted above, nor do we use the information given by users and stored in the cookies to link to any other data.

Note: You would not be able to register and use public use data files on the main site (

Web Bugs

The Urban Institute does not make use of "Web bugs" (programs installed on your personal computer by a website to track personal web usage) in any way, shape, or form.

Information Collected by Third Parties

We do not have access to, nor control over, advertisers' or service providers' use of cookies or other tracking technologies or how they may be used.

Third-party vendors, including Google, whose services we use, may place cookies on web browsers in order to serve ads based on past visits to our website.  These third-party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user’s prior visits to our website. This allows us to market our research to those who have shown interest in our site. 

Urban’s Sites use the Google AdWords remarketing service to advertise on third party websites (including Google) to previous visitors to our site. It could mean that we advertise to previous visitors who haven’t completed a task on our site, for example using the contact form to make an inquiry. This could be in the form of an advertisement on the Google search results page, or a site in the Google Display Network. Third-party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on someone’s past visits to the Urban Institute website. Of course, any data collected will be used in accordance with our own privacy policy and Google’s privacy policy.

You can set preferences for how Google advertises to you using the Google Ad Preferences page, and if you want to you can opt out of interest-based advertising entirely by cookie settings.


What we do with the information we collect

Personal Information

Personal information is internally used by Urban Institute staff only for the purpose stated at the time it is collected, e.g. to reply to a question or inquiry or to provide a requested service. Such personal information is never used for secondary or unrelated purposes unless otherwise requested or explicitly agreed to by the website user.

When requested, and where possible, the Urban Institute will delete personal information from current operational systems.

Use of Server Logs

Our web servers log the standard information about website users including the IP address of the user, domain of the user, URLs visited, and the date/time visited. We use this information to generate aggregate reports which summarize our website traffic, which we use to improve our site and its usability for our visitors. We do not attempt to track individual users and we do not link the web log information to any other database with the purpose of identifying individual website users.

Email Newsletters

The Urban Institute offers several opt-in email newsletters.  Per the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, we will not send you marketing messages if you have opted out and we will not share, sell, rent, swap, or authorize any third party to use your email address for commercial purposes without your permission.  If you no longer wish to receive a specific newsletter, follow the “unsubscribe” instructions located near the bottom of each newsletter.


Who we share the information with 

Within The Urban Institute

We do not sell, rent, swap, or authorize any third party use of your personally identifiable information or email address without your permission.   We only use your personally identifiable information or email address internally to operate or provide you access to our services, comply with our legal obligations, enforce our policies, facilitate our advertising, or reduce or prevent fraud related to our services.

In the future, we may sell, buy, merge or partner with other companies or businesses. In such transactions, we may include your information among the transferred assets.

Third Parties

It is the Urban Institute's policy never to share, trade, sell or otherwise disclose personal information to third parties without their informed consent or direction except:

  • Where required by law, e.g. through subpoena, warrant or other legal process or
  • To the electronic bankcard processors and digital trust services which enable the Institute to sell its publications on line. The Institute does not see or retain credit card information.
  • The Urban Institute occasionally mails information about our events and publications to its online bookstore customers. Personal information used for this purpose is never shared with any other organizations.

Service Providers

We contract with other companies to provide services on our behalf, including credit-card and billing processing, ad serving, shipping, email distribution, list processing and analytics or promotions management. We provide these companies only with the information they need to perform their services. These service providers are restricted from using this data in any way other than to provide services for Urban, and they may not share, resell or use the data for their own direct marketing purposes.



California Privacy Rights

If you are a California resident, the California “Shine the Light” law, Civil Code Section 1798.83, permits you to opt out of the disclosure of your personal information Urban to third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes.  Please note that this opt-out does not prohibit disclosures made for non-marketing purposes.

Children’s Privacy

Our Sites are not intended for children under 13 years of age. We do not knowingly collect or store any personal information about children under the age of 13.


By using our Sites, you consent to this Privacy Policy.

Changes to This Policy

In order to maintain effective privacy practices, Urban retains the right to modify, alter, or update this policy without notice and you are encouraged to periodically review it. 

Links to Third-Party Sites

The Urban Institute provides a number of links to third-party sites and assumes no responsibility for the information practices of websites a user is able to access through ours. We encourage all web visitors to review the privacy policies and statements of all externally-linked websites. There is no third-party advertising on the Urban Institute websites.