Category: Publication

Resource Category Topic Type
Behavioral Finance of Impact Investing
Donor-advised funds present a unique opportunity to promote impact investing into the local community, including Community Development Financial Institutions that serve their local communities.
Center for Impact Finance Community Development Finance, Economic Development Publication
Behind at the Starting Line
Hispanics are driving U.S. population growth. Representing just 16 percent of the U.S. population in 2010, Hispanics accounted for the majority of U.S. population growth over the past decade. The current emphasis on immigration in public discourse and policy reflects the commonplace assumption that Hispanic population growth is driven largely by new immigration. Yet, most Hispanic growth today is due to Hispanic births, not immigration.1 Fertility represents a large second-order effect of past and current immigration. The often unappreciated impact of U.S.-born Hispanic infants on population growth raises an important policy question: Do Hispanic infants start life’s race behind the starting line, poor and disadvantaged? The question of whether Hispanic infants start life at an economic disadvantage has broad policy implications. Poverty at birth threatens childhood development trajectories, later academic achievement, transitions to productive adult roles, and, ultimately, incorporation into the economic, social, and political mainstream.2 Nor is this just a highly localized concern in a few traditional Hispanic settlement areas, because Hispanics are now widely distributed geographically. America’s Hispanic population has dispersed from established gateways in the Southwest and a few large urban cores to new destinations throughout the Southeast, the Pacific Northwest, and the agricultural heartland.3 Most Hispanics continue to reside in metropolitan areas, where they accounted for nearly 55 percent of recent population gains. Yet, Hispanic growth has had even greater impacts in rural America. A burgeoning Hispanic population accounted for two-thirds of the rural population gain, though Hispanics represented less than 7 percent of the population in 2010. In many rural areas, Hispanics provide a demographic lifeline to dying small towns. Births account for a growing share of the Hispanic population increase: nearly 25 percent of all U.S. births are now to Hispanics. Our focus here is on the question of how many Hispanic infants begin their lives in poverty. In our previous research, we demonstrated that the growing proportion of U.S. births that are Hispanic is causing America to become more diverse from youngest to oldest.4 Diversity as well as economic incorporation are occurring from the “bottom up”—beginning with infants and children. Here we examine the comparative economic circumstances of Hispanics but, unlike previous studies, we place the emphasis squarely on infants. The period in utero and during early infancy is especially critical for brain development and later cognitive, emotional, and physical outcomes. Poor infants also face clear developmental disadvantages that persist into adulthood.5 In the absence of upward socioeconomic mobility, childhood poverty contributes to poverty in adulthood, a statistical fact that will take on special significance if intergenerational mobility declines and inequality grows.6
Vulnerable Families Research Program Birth Rates, Children, Demography, Hispanics Publication
Beliefs about Development Versus Environmental Tradeoffs in the Puget Sound Region
Using data from a phone survey of 1,980 Puget Sound residents conducted in 2012, this fact sheet outlines residents’ views about the importance of environmental protection as well as their opinions about energy development, protection of wild salmon, and land use regulation.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community Development, Economic Development, Environment, Public Opinion Publication
Beyond Urban Versus Rural
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, commentators focused on the political polarization separating residents of urban and rural America. Certainly rural–urban differences are only one of several factors that contributed to the surprising 2016 outcome, but rural voters are rightly acknowledged as one key factor in Donald Trump’s electoral success. Yet, defining 2016 as the tale of two Americas—one urban, one rural—hinders a nuanced understanding of the country’s political geography. Many political commentators mistakenly caricature rural America as a single entity, but our research summarized here shows that complex variations in voting patterns persist among both urban and rural places.1 Rural America is a remarkably diverse collection of places including more than 70 percent of the land area of the United States and 46 million people.2 Both demographic and voting trends in this vast area are far from monolithic. Here we examine voting patterns over the last five presidential elections, treating rural–urban differences as a continuum, not a dichotomy.
Demography Demography, Politics and Elections, Rural, Urban Publication
Biden’s Victory Due to Increased Support Along the Entire Rural-Urban Continuum
Joseph Biden won the 2020 presidential election because Democratic support increased across the entire rural–urban continuum. The incremental gains at each point along the continuum were modest, but in a tightly contested election small changes in the vote matter.
Demography Demography, Politics and Elections, Rural, Urban Publication
Biofueling Rural Development: Making the Case for Linking Biofuel Production to Rural Revitalization
Biofuels play a crucial role in America's quest for oil independence. In recent years, the biofuel industry has seen significant technology and efficiency advances, as well as expansions in the materials that can be used to create biofuels. Grains and oilseeds are limited in their ability to meet fuel needs, but a shift to biomass feedstocks offers better production possibilities. For rural communities, locally owned biomass refineries may offer promise of new investment, job growth, and revitalization.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Economic Development, Environment, Infrastructure, Rural Publication
Bringing Solar Energy to Low- and Moderate-Income Communities
The U.S. solar photovoltaics industry has taken off over the past decade, but without deliberate action low- and moderate-income communities could be left behind.
Center for Impact Finance, Community, Environment, and Climate Change Climate Change, Community Development Finance, Energy, Environment, Infrastructure, Low Income Publication
Building Trust, Increasing Safety: Assuring Mutual Understanding and Trust Between Community Members and Police Officers
Police and community members in the communities of Rochester, Durham, and Dover spent three hours in each location discussing how to encourage mutual understanding and trust between communities and police. Participants from law enforcement and individuals from local neighborhoods worked together to reframe community problems as social issues where both community members and police play a role in problem solving. Participants expressed a desire for police departments that are to be community oriented, culturally sensitive, and act with equity and accountability. In turn, the community should take responsibility to communicate with the police, act responsibly, and formally and informally mentor youth. Participants expressed a willingness to communicate, build relationships, and educate each other in order to accomplish goals of mutual understanding and trust in their communities.
New Hampshire Listens Civic Engagement Publication
Capital Markets, CDFIs, and Organizational Credit Risk
Can Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) get unlimited amounts of low cost, unsecured, short- and long-term funding from the capital markets based on their organizational credit risk? Can they get pricing, flexibility, and procedural parity with for-profit corporations of equivalent credit risk?
Center for Impact Finance Community Development Finance, Economic Development Publication
Carsey Perspective: Is the Poverty Rate 1.1 Percent?
Poverty in the United States is a multifaceted problem with causes as diverse as the 46.7 million people who live in it and solvable only through a suite of solutions.1 Those 46.7 million people constituted 14.8 percent of the population of the United States in 2014,2 which both shocks the conscience for such a wealthy country and suggests a challenge of intimidating magnitude. On the other hand, while the number of people is daunting, the dollar amount involved is less so. We estimate that those living in poverty in 2014 in the United States were $192 billion short of the poverty line. In other words, the sum total it would take to raise all poor families to the poverty line is $192 billion. That isn’t a small sum, of course. But it is only 1.1 percent of our nation’s $17.3 trillion of national income in 2014.3 Thus, while 14.8 percent of the population lives in poverty, to raise them out of poverty would require raising their income by only 1.1 percent of total national income. Figure 1 and 2 That’s not to say that there’s a magic wand to make this happen. Proposals to address poverty have been put forward from many quarters. They all deserve consideration on their merits, but resignation to the inevitability of poverty because of the magnitude of the problem is not a reason for inaction. After all, most other economically advanced countries have lower rates of poverty than the United States.4 So poverty in otherwise well-off nations is not a foregone conclusion. One additional note: of the $192 billion in income increase that’s needed, $160 billion is needed in metropolitan areas, $30 billion in rural areas. Methodology Data for this project are from the 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey (CPS). All income questions in the ASEC refer to 2014, the most recent year for which data are available. The ASEC is conducted every March and is the source of the U.S. Census Bureau’s official poverty estimates. The official poverty measure (OPM) is a family-level construct. Total family income is compared to a poverty threshold based on family size and number of children. Families with total incomes below their assigned threshold are considered poor, or in poverty. If a family is categorized as poor, then all people in the family are considered poor.5
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Bridging Farm and Table: The ‘Harvest to Market’ Innovation
Buying food locally is a goal to which many consumers aspire. Local produce is likely to be fresher than food shipped from hundreds or thousands of miles away, less shipping means less reliance on fossil fuels, and local farmers receive the benefits of local spending. But what makes sense in theory can be difficult in practice. Try, for example, to find and purchase a locally grown carrot. In the traditional food system, local farmers and buyers have trouble connecting. A consumer seeking to check off a lengthy shopping list with local produce will have to identify and then travel to many farms, since most farms produce only a few types of food. Farmers have few marketing resources, and a farmer’s base of individual customers tends to be restricted to the most conscientious buyers who live within a reasonable driving distance. In the end, many small farmers resort to typical distribution channels that involve numerous levels of shipping, processing, and handling, and the consumer buys at the supermarket. One result of our reliance on this food distribution system, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Dollar Series, is that only 17.2 cents of every dollar spent on a farmer’s produce goes to the farmer. Harvest to Market is a new online platform that makes it easier for small farmers to sell their products directly to local consumers.
Changemaker Collaborative Entrepreneurship Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Children in United States, Both White and Black, Are Growing Up in Dramatically Smaller Families
African American children are growing up in dramatically smaller families than they were 50 years ago.1 At a postwar peak in 1960, the average black child was one of 6.53 siblings, but today he or she is one of 3.18 (see Box 1). This measure has also dropped, but less dramatically, for the average white child, for whom “sibsize” was 4.1 in 1960 and today is 2.93.2 When we compare children of poorly educated and well-educated mothers, whatever their race, we find a similar pattern of falling sibsize and reduced differences in sibsize over the past 50 years.3 Because large families must spread their resources among their children, these declines, especially among the less well-off, enable families to devote more resources to each child and are likely to have transformed children’s lives in a positive and egalitarian direction.4 This change is also likely to have had important implications for trends in poverty, though these implications have not been examined. Children in small families benefit simply by virtue of having limited resources divided fewer ways. As such, declining average sibsize since the mid-20th century is an important development in the United States. The drop in the number of siblings also raises a key question: is falling sibsize offsetting some of the harmful effects on children of the transition from two-parent families to single-parent families? This latter change has been widely noted and has caused great concern.5 The share of 8- and 9-year-old children whose father is absent from the family home has risen from 6 percent in 1960 to 22 percent in 2012 among whites and from 24 percent to 59 percent among blacks (see Box 2). At the same time, however, the share of 8- and 9-year-olds with sibsizes of five or more has fallen from 60 percent to 18 percent among blacks and from 27 percent to 9 percent among whites. Was it more challenging for children in the 1960s to grow up with two resident parents and many siblings than it is for children today to grow up with one resident parent and fewer siblings? This is a key question to ask in assessing what role family change has played in shaping the course of social inequality in America over the past half-century. Note: In this brief, Hispanics may be of either race, and we have not analyzed Hispanic sibsize trends separately. See the discussion in the concluding paragraphs.
Demography, Vulnerable Families Research Program African Americans, Demography Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Innovative Financing for Community Businesses
Business owners seeking to start or expand a small business have limited options for financing. They can go to a bank for a loan, but they may have trouble qualifying for the loan due to the age of the business, absence of collateral, lack of equity in the business, thin margins, or other factors. While online business lenders may offer faster response times and lower underwriting hurdles, they often do so in exchange for exorbitant rates and reduced ability to customize their financing or add broader value to the business beyond the money. Business owners could try going to venture capitalists for equity, but venture capitalists and angel investors will demand some control over the company and need an exit strategy, generally requiring that the company be sold. The company might also not have a fast enough growth curve to interest a venture capitalist. Raising money through a crowdfunding platform, such as Kickstarter, is another option. But until recently, crowdfunding has been limited to raising donations, not investments, through such strategies.
Center for Impact Finance Community Development Finance, Income Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Local Owners Driving Lasting Solutions
As outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, there is an urgent need for mechanisms that effectively scale proven interventions for tackling some of humanity’s toughest challenges (United Nations 2015). While there are exemplary models that have proven to be highly effective, there are relatively few examples that have achieved large-scale replication.
Changemaker Collaborative Community Development, Economic Development, Employment, Entrepreneurship Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Meeting Farmers Where They Are
This case study provides an overview of Ziweto Enterprises, a social venture using franchising methodology to scale its growth. The goal of this study is to present a clear picture of how the starting stages of a social franchise can expand and thrive in a developing country such as Malawi. By discussing Ziweto’s history, business model, operations, challenges, successes, decision-making process, social impact, and projected future, this case study aims to provide insight into the application of business format franchising to address social problems.
Changemaker Collaborative Community Development, Economic Development, Employment, Entrepreneurship Publication
Carsey Perspectives: New Hampshire's Electricity Future
May 2017 update PointLogic Energy, a source for natural gas pipeline flow and capacity in the original report, has recently updated its models for calculating natural gas flow in the Tennessee Gas Pipeline in New England. This model update has resulted in significant changes to their previous estimates. Most importantly, data obtained from PointLogic Energy in December 2016 supported the finding that overall net gas flow in the “Tennessee Gas Pipeline: NY to MA” was from Massachusetts to New York from 2013–2016; their revised models indicate a net flow during the same period from New York to Massachusetts. To be conservative, we have removed analysis of natural gas pipeline flow and capacity from this report that relied on the original data obtained from PointLogic Energy. Instead, we use estimates of natural gas pipeline flow and capacity published in a 2014 ICF International report that was commissioned by ISO New England (Exhibit 2-3, pp. 12)a and information provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.b a ICF International, “Assessment of New England’s Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity to Satisfy Short and Near-Term Electric Generation Needs: Phase II,” 2014 . b U.S. Energy Information Administration, “U.S. State-to-State Capacity,” updated 12/31/2015; U.S. Energy Information Administration, “New England Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity Increases for the First Time Since 2010,” December 6, 2016 (see endnote 15). Download the revised publication. Download the previous version of this publication.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Energy, Infrastructure, New Hampshire Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Polling and the New Hampshire Primary
As of this writing, the New Hampshire primary is scheduled to take place in just about two months—on Tuesday, February 9, just eight days after the first nomination contest, the Iowa caucuses. Numerous polls have already told us what the voters are contemplating “if the election were held today.” In interpreting what the polls mean for the actual primary election, however, we need to take into consideration several caveats.
New Hampshire New Hampshire, Politics and Elections Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Saving Salt, Protecting Watersheds, in Winter Road Maintenance
Every winter, the surface of the earth in the northern United States becomes considerably more salty. The reason is, for availability, cost, and effectiveness, nothing beats salt-based deicers for keeping roadways clear of ice. But the effects of road salt on aquatic ecosystems, freshwater drinking supplies, infrastructure, and vehicles is significant. When chlorides get into groundwater, it can be very difficult to get them out. They do not biodegrade over time, and the accumulation in soils can be retained for decades.1 As few as 50 pounds of salt can contaminate 10,000 gallons of water.2 The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services estimates that there are almost 50 chloride-impaired watersheds within the state, and it lists over 100 of the state’s drinking water sources as contaminated due to chlorides.3 Groundwater experts suggest that the chloride problem may be much larger than we know, due to limited testing and the cumulative impact of the chemical. Therefore, given what we know about the harmful effects of salt, it makes sense to use it sparingly. But as any homeowner who has tossed it on a sidewalk knows, it is hard to estimate the right amount to use and, if anything, we err on the side of caution, resulting in liberal applications. Municipalities have an even tougher time getting it right. A public works department must deploy dozens or hundreds of spreaders, managing them so they do not miss a road and adjusting their management approach to accommodate changing temperatures and the unique weather fluctuations of each winter event. When trucks are moving through complex road systems it can be challenging for operators to know the last time deicing material was applied to a particular surface. When in doubt, operators apply more material. It was in seeing that there was significant opportunity for innovation within the winter road maintenance industry that I decided to launch a company where we could work to help address some of the industry’s challenges. In 2012, I launched the New Hampshire based company, Sensible Spreader Technologies LLC (SST), and we are currently helping municipalities and private contractors increase efficiency, increase safety, and reduce deicer waste by showing operators in real time what’s been covered and what hasn’t. SST’s Coverage Indication Technology (CIT) uses mobile devices, wireless sensors, cloud computing, and real-time electronic maps to show operators the concurrent locations of other vehicles in the fleet and the plowing and deicing operations that have taken place over specific intervals. SST developed this technology after measuring the regular occurrence of material-based overlap within short time durations at multiple municipal locations. Material-based overlap occurs when operators reapply material in areas that have already received sufficient quantities of deicing material. We observed that the highest likelihood for overlap occurred in and around grid-type infrastructure, typical of urban environments, but overlap was also observed in rural settings.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Environment, Infrastructure, New Hampshire Publication
Carsey Perspectives: To Dig, Or Not To Dig?
Editor’s Note: Tom Haines, a journalist and assistant professor of English at The University of New Hampshire, has walked hundreds of miles across landscapes of fuel while researching a book about energy and the environment that will be published in 2018. He served as a Carsey School Summer Research Scholar in 2015, when he walked 50 miles among the open-pit coal mines of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. That on-the-ground reporting informs this analysis. In January 2016, the Department of Interior announced a moratorium on all new federal coal leases while it conducts an in-depth review of the process by which coal owned by the American public is sold to private enterprise for harvest. Nearly 40 percent of all coal produced in the United States comes from federal land, and coal still powers one-third of the nation’s electricity grid.1 The federal coal lease review, the first since the 1980s, considers pricing and competitive bidding practices, but also, for the first time, the environmental impact that burning coal has on a warming planet. In announcing the review, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said: “We need to take into account right now the science of carbon’s impact on the environment.” Ten percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions comes from burning coal harvested on public land. Nearly all of that, more than 85 percent, is dug from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.2 Nowhere else does the U.S. government control such a vast deposit of fossil fuel. So as the lease review—and the climate impacts it considers—plays out over the next few years, the Powder River Basin, home to some of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines, looms as a policy frontier: Should this fuel box of America, which has sent coal to power plants in dozens of states for decades, continue to feed our energy appetite?
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Politics and Elections Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Water Concerns Unite Citizen Activists
This study focuses on an instance of sustained local activism in which citizens in three New Hampshire communities mobilized to protect community groundwater against threats from commercial use. Beginning in 2001, despite strong citizen opposition, state-issued permits allowed a private company, USA Springs, to commence work on a large water-bottling operation that would have pumped over 400,000 gallons daily from Nottingham and Barrington. Activists fought back through state agencies and the courts, engaging in a lengthy campaign that involved petitioning, lobbying, community meetings, rallies, public protests, and a State Supreme Court case. Meanwhile, and absent an immediate threat to their own town’s water, Barnstead residents worked proactively with a public interest law firm based in Pennsylvania to develop the nation’s first local ordinance prohibiting the taking of community water by corporations. Ultimately, Nottingham and Barrington followed suit, crafting their own ordinances and joining a growing community rights movement that has taken hold in at least twelve states. After a fight that spanned more than a decade, the Nottingham and Barrington activists ultimately prevailed. The company went bankrupt, and water bottling never commenced. Although many factors—including the dedication and persistence of the activists themselves—contributed to the victory, the case suggests that local ordinances can be an effective tool for mobilizing and educating residents, encouraging deliberative dialogue around environmental and resource issues, and deterring unwanted commercial activity.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Community, New Hampshire, Politics and Elections, Rivers/Watersheds Publication