What Is Financial Well-Being?
Financial well-being refers to people’s ability to manage their daily finances, be resilient to economic shocks, and pursue opportunities for upward mobility.
Today, nearly 40 million people in the US are experiencing poverty. Rising inflation and historically high housing costs are straining people’s lives in cities and rural towns alike. Inequitable realities persist both at work and home, with more than a million women having left their jobs during the pandemic, threatening to upend decades of progress toward workplace equity. Meanwhile, white households command eight times as much wealth as Black households and five times as much as Latinx households.
What would it take to ensure that all people—no matter their zip code, race, gender, or income—have the financial security to invest in their future, provide for their families, and live with dignity?
We believe answers can be found in data—specifically, data on how people pay their bills, handle their spending, save for emergencies, manage their debt, build wealth for the future, and interact with financial technologies. Consumer data on these topics exist but are fragmented. Decisionmakers therefore cannot fully understand people’s financial lives, which has led to fragmented solutions, some of which have exacerbated financial inequities.
Urban’s researchers and data scientists bring unique depth and breadth of expertise in the following areas:
- cutting-edge analytical techniques that allow us to identify fresh insights from consumer data
- issues that influence financial well-being, such as housing, health, retirement, and education
- convening and connecting innovators in the financial well-being field who have the power to use our insights to effect meaningful change for people and communities
The Urban Institute’s Financial Well-Being Data Hub is addressing these challenges by bringing together disparate data sources to create a new data asset that provides a holistic understanding of people’s financial well-being. By considering public and proprietary datasets, as well as insights from the experiences of individuals and families, Urban is delivering evidence-based solutions anchored in a comprehensive portrait of people’s financial lives. With this information, today’s change agents—from community advocates to corporate leaders—will be better equipped to narrow inequities and advance financial well-being for all people.
Learn more about the research questions we’re exploring and how you can collaborate with us.
The Urban Institute’s Financial Well-Being Data Hub is generously supported by Intuit, Capital One, PNC, and Wells Fargo. We are grateful to them and other funders who make it possible for Urban to advance our mission.