ATTIS Microsimulation Model
The Urban Institute’s Analysis of Transfers, Taxes, and Income Security (ATTIS) microsimulation model allows Urban experts to examine how today’s safety net supports US families and how changes to it could affect their economic well-being. By using data and evidence created with ATTIS, today’s decisionmakers are better positioned to advance equitable and effective policy solutions that help individuals and families meet their basic needs.


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    About ATTIS
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    Data and evidence created with ATTIS provide local, state, and federal policymakers, philanthropies, researchers, and advocates with a detailed picture of the reach of safety net programs, how they interact with each other, and what policy changes could mean for people’s economic well-being.
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    Senior Fellow
    Project Director for Maintenance and Development of the TRIM3 Model
    Principal Research Associate
    Senior Fellow
    Principal Research Associate

    Policy Centers Income and Benefits Policy Center
    Research Areas Social safety net
    Tags From Safety Net to Solid Ground
    About

    The Urban Institute’s Analysis of Transfers, Taxes, and Income Security (ATTIS) microsimulation model allows our experts to examine how today’s safety net—from child care and housing subsidies to nutrition assistance and supplemental income—supports US families and how changes to it could affect their economic well-being. Developed by Urban researchers, ATTIS

    • reveals who benefits from current safety net program policies and who doesn’t—either because they aren’t eligible or because they are but don’t participate
    • provides information nationally, at the state level, and in some large cities, as well as by various demographic characteristics, such as age, race, and work status
    • forecasts how poverty rates and people’s economic well-being would be affected in the near future by proposed policy changes to one or several safety net programs under certain economic conditions, such as during a recession
    • demonstrates how policy changes in individual or multiple safety net and tax programs affect people’s eligibility across all programs
    • shows how changes in people’s employment affect their eligibility for safety net programs and their overall financial situation

    Data and evidence created with ATTIS provide local, state, and federal policymakers, philanthropies, researchers, and advocates with a detailed picture of the reach of safety net programs, how they interact with each other, and what policy changes could mean for people’s economic well-being. Equipped with such information, decisionmakers are better positioned to advance meaningful and equitable policy solutions that help individuals and families meet their basic needs.

    How ATTIS Works

    One of several simulation tools developed by Urban, ATTIS relies on data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS provides annual information on the characteristics and economic circumstances of US households. It has a sample size of approximately 1 million households, which is large enough for Urban researchers to provide reliable and detailed national and state-level estimates, as well as estimates for some large cities.

    ACS estimates also can be broken down by various demographic characteristics, including age, race, marital status, and work status, as well as by different income and poverty levels. ATTIS corrects for underreporting in survey data to provide a more accurate picture of who participates in safety net programs.

    Using ACS data, ATTIS estimates eligibility, enrollment, and benefits for the following programs:

    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
    • child care subsidies through the Child Care and Development Fund
    • public and subsidized housing
    • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
    • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
    • Supplemental Security Income

    ATTIS also calculates what families pay in payroll taxes and federal and state income taxes, what they receive in child support and unemployment compensation, and how much support families and individuals receive from tax credits, including the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, and child and dependent care tax credit. Having a full picture of transfers and taxes allows Urban researchers to provide in-depth analyses of families’ economic well-being under current and proposed policies.

    Contact us: ATTIS@urban.org

    The ATTIS model receives funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the Urban Institute’s From Safety Net to Solid Ground initiative. Individual projects and reports are also funded under various grants and contracts provided by foundations, nonprofit organizations, and state government agencies.

    Staff

    • Vice President, Income and Benefits Policy
    • Research Associate
    • Research Associate
    • Senior Fellow
      Project Director for Maintenance and Development of the TRIM3 Model
    • Senior Developer, Web Application
    • Research Associate
    • Senior Research Associate
    • Research Analyst
    • Research Analyst
    • Senior Fellow, Research
    • Principal Research Associate
    • Principal Research Associate
    • Senior Research Associate
    • Associate Director, Software Engineering
    • Senior Fellow
    • Research Associate
    • Senior Fellow