The Local Outlines of Inequality

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Erika RosenbergWe know the pandemic is impacting people and communities unequally. What does that look like in Rochester?

Based on an inquiry from the United Way of Greater Rochester and our community’s Systems Integration initiative, CGR mapped Census data correlated with economic risk linked to the outbreak. Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School developed and analyzed estimates of households and communities most at risk of job loss. The authors found the people and communities most vulnerable based on their occupation are the same we already know to be struggling – neighborhoods that are low-income, have a high share of renters rather than homeowners, and higher shares of residents of color. Read more »

Reflecting on 105 Years of Service to Communities

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Erika RosenbergCGR celebrates our 105th birthday today, having been incorporated under our prior name, the Bureau of Municipal Research, on April 20, 1915. 105 years of longevity has a special meaning today, when a global pandemic is wreaking havoc in many communities, taking lives across the world, and altering daily life for all of us.

It’s a time when survival is not guaranteed, but there have been other such times in CGR’s history — as there have been in the history of many of our other Eastman-era institutions, from the United Way of Greater Rochester to the Eastman School of Music to the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

Consider this introduction to a summary of part of our organization’s activities in just its third year of existence – 1918. Read more »

COVID-19: Our Challenge Going Forward

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Donald PryorIn these troubled, unprecedented, uncertain times, it is hard enough to navigate our day-to-day lives in these uncharted waters, let alone anticipate how things will look a few weeks, months or even years from now.

But can we at least begin to think about how we use this crisis to move beyond today to explore how in the future we might build new bridges in this community and throughout the country and the world? Read more »

COVID-19: What will it mean for local communities once the immediate crisis has passed?

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Erika RosenbergThe COVID-19 crisis has confronted diverse communities across the country with similar challenges: treating and tracking the sick, making decisions to protect those who appear well as well as health care workers, and taking all possible steps to preserve the functioning of the local health care system.

But once the crisis has passed, what questions will local communities be asking? How might it change how we think about the challenges we were confronting, and new ones that emerge? Read more »

Bail reform’s likely impact? Evidence from an upstate county

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff, Rochester Beacon.

Don PryorBail reform has long been hotly debated in New York – and was finally passed in 2019, taking effect on Jan. 1. Less than a month into its infancy, the new legislation is once again being hotly debated, with supporters and detractors offering widely divergent perspectives on its current and likely future impact.

The bail reform legislation ends cash bail in most misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases. It is designed to reduce reliance on money in the form of cash bail as a determinant of whether many defendants—charged but not convicted—remain in custody prior to disposition of their criminal cases.   Read more »

Analysis with Impact

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Paul BishopCGR’s 2017 analysis and recommendations related to the Tompkins County jail continue to have impact. Here is what county officials recently told us. 

The County’s jail population has now settled into the 50s (down from the 90 or so we were housing during your study). The County is actually boarding-in now. 

In hearing about these remarkable stats, it sure seems that not only were your programmatic recommendations effective, but you were spot-on in predicting that the jail population could actually shrink. 

As so much of the good news about the County’s jail population relates to recommendations in your report, you and your team should feel very good about what you helped to accomplish.  I know the process wasn’t always pleasant or easy, but it is clear in hindsight that the effort was worth it.  Our community is reaping the benefits of your persistence on many levels. Kudos for providing such clear and effective advice to the County.

— Joe Mareane, Tompkins County Administrator, 2008-17

Response to our recommendations was swift and comprehensive.  Strong leadership from the County Legislature and from other community agencies paved the way for investments needed to implement the core recommendations from the study.

Read more »

Essex County Uses Data to Take Action on Income Inequality

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Erika RosenbergEssex County, MA is just north of Boston and home to some very rich and very poor communities. The median household income in Boxford, for example, tops $155,000, while the median in Lawrence is less than $40,000.

The countywide median of $73,500 is nearly 30% higher than the national median, which is why many people think of Essex County as a well-off place.

But the Essex County Community Foundation knows better. That’s one of the reasons it turned to CGR to create a community indicators project that would serve as an open clearinghouse of trusted data and analysis about the community.

Now the Foundation is using that project – aptly named Impact Essex County – to take action in the community to close income gaps. The Foundation is investing $1.3 million over the next three years in a project called Empowering Economic Opportunity aimed at uncovering and addressing the root causes of income inequality.

Read more »

CGR Study Maps Food Resources and Examines Barriers

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Alice CarleTo help meet people’s nutritional needs, 150 organizations operate 195 program sites – providing on-site meals, or delivered meals, or food pantries – in Northwest Arkansas. Yet, access for the estimated 58,000 food insecure residents of Benton and Washington counties remains a problem.

CGR was engaged by the Walmart Foundation to help answer the question of why. We gathered, analyzed and mapped relevant data, interviewed stakeholders and partnered with a collaborative in the region to conduct 24 focus groups with food providers and program recipients.

Food insecurity is a bit distinct from hunger, in that it can refer not only to people lacking adequate food, but also people lacking access at certain times, or whose access to nutritiously adequate food is uncertain.[1] While it affects primarily low-income people, it can hit a broader range of households with job or income insecurity. College students are one group increasingly affected, because of ballooning college costs, inadequate financial aid, and growing enrollment of low-income and first-generation students. Read more »

“Eds and Meds” as Economic Drivers in NYS

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Mike SilvaEducation and healthcare are major sectors in New York State’s economy. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates 20% of all jobs and 15% of total income statewide are generated by these two sectors.

CGR recently concluded our economic impact analysis of New York State’s independent colleges and universities sector, the eighth in an annual series. The sector’s 100+ private, not-for-profit higher education institutions are spread across the state, and collectively contribute approximately $88.8 billion to New York’s economy. Our study breaks this impact into three categories. Read more »

The “Yield Curve” Makes Forecasters Tremble

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Kent GardnerThe yield curve compares interest rates charged on long term and short term bonds—typically, 10 year v. 2 year U.S. Government treasuries. When the 10 year rate is lower than the 2 year rate, the yield curve is said to be “inverted” and may be “predicting” a recession.

The yield curve is nothing but a sophisticated investor confidence survey—if investors expect inflation will rise, then they will demand a higher yield (or interest rate) for longer maturity bonds. 

Some of you may remember the TV series, Early Edition. Every morning the protagonist found tomorrow’s newspaper outside his door. Blessed (or cursed) by knowledge of the future, he spent the rest of the episode trying to fix things.

Suppose you found the Wall Street Journal from 2028 on your doorstep or in your email’s inbox and learned that inflation, 2% today, had risen steadily to 5%. To compensate for the loss in inflation-adjusted yield (the interest rate minus inflation), you would demand a higher interest rate for bonds with longer maturities.

On the flip side, if your “early edition” of the WSJ showed inflation to have stayed the same or fallen, you’d be willing to accept a lower yield (rate of interest). Read more »