Harnessing Big Data for Social Good
Efforts to tackle society’s most persistent problems often are ineffective or move slowly in part because of the difficulty of accessing social data with which needs and solutions can be analyzed.
However, advances in information technology and access to social service administrative data make it possible to develop data systems to help devise and evaluate social policy.
Integrated data systems of administrative records across agencies and time constitute a rich source of information that can be used to evaluate outcomes, drive decision making, target resources, and gain an understanding of how the collective work of agencies and systems are addressing the needs and concerns in their communities.
The Poverty Center continuously maintains two integrated data systems for its research.
The NEO CANDO (Northeast Ohio Community and Neighborhood Data for Organizing) system is a free and publicly accessible data system that integrates social and economic data from the census and local agencies into a tract-level longitudinal system.
The CHILD (Childhood Integrated Longitudinal Data) system is a secure, private system composed of linked administrative records on children in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, beginning with the 1992 birth cohort to the present. CHILD contains data from 16 different administrative systems.