The Data Center is one of the most trusted resources for data about greater New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana. They are fully independent and experts at bringing data together from multiple sources. In doing so, they are uniquely able to step beyond the limits of analyzing data from just one perspective and take a 360–degree look at issues that matter most to our region from the government, business, nonprofit, and community perspective. In these ways the Data Center realizes its mission to build prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable communities by making informed decisions possible.
The Data Center is as good at getting data out as they are at putting it together. They put information together in a way that is easy to understand and to the point. Their reports regularly reach over 100,000 individuals, including neighborhood leaders, members of the media, elected officials, business leaders, and other researchers.
The Data Center’s areas of expertise include disaster recovery, regional economic analysis, workforce development, racial disparity indicators, blight reduction, affordable housing, and coastal population movements.
What the Data Center Does
The Data Center approaches its work from three levels:
- Analyze and monitor a set of key indicators in order to build foundational knowledge about the strength and vibrancy of greater New Orleans.
- Where there is a match between community interest and our expertise, the Data Center uses action-oriented research to take a deeper look at a specific issue.
- Ensure findings reach not only elected officials, but also community leaders, neighborhood activists, members of the media, and business executives.
How They Do It
The Data Center compiles, monitors, and analyzes data each and every day. They put their work in the hands of local and national stakeholders in the following ways:
- “New Orleans Index,” a now biennial publication developed in collaboration with the Brookings Institution only a few months after Hurricane Katrina, tracks progress towards prosperity by looking at indicators that measure economic growth, sustainability, inclusive growth, and quality of life.
- Throughout the year the Data Center is busy researching, analyzing, and releasing a number of other valuable tools for our region.
- Each year they publish “Who Lives in the New Orleans Metro Area Now?” — an analysis of key demographic trends in areas such as race, age, ethnicity and national origin, education, poverty, income, homeownership, and transportation.
- On a monthly basis they publish U.S. Postal Service counts of households actively receiving mail as an indicator of repopulation for every ZIP code across the seven parishes of the metro area.
On a regular basis the “Numbers Talk” e–newsletter provides up–to–date information on data trends in critical areas.
Who They Serve
The Data Center serves everyone who needs data to do their work. This includes government agencies, business leaders, neighborhood associations, local nonprofits, and members of the media. The data can be found across a range of channels, including their website (100,000 unique visitors/year), their e–newsletter (4,000 subscribers), the media (500+ mentions/year), print publications, speaking engagements, and decision-maker briefings. By doing so, the Data Center helps inform a common understanding of progress and challenges in key areas of interest. This understanding, in turn, can lay a solid foundation for sustainable progress towards a prosperous and inclusive region.
By keeping facts on the table, the Data Center regularly gives local, regional, and national leaders the tools they need to make the strategic, programmatic, and fiscal decisions that are building a sustainable greater New Orleans.
- “The New Orleans Index” was the most widely used means of tracking rebuilding efforts in the months and years following Hurricane Katrina and has set a new national standard for measuring disaster recovery.
- In the first post–Katrina U.S. Census, the Data Center provided City Hall with facts that showed a larger population than portrayed, halting a possible loss of $61 million in federal funding.
- “Neighborhood Profiles” give community leaders and local residents the facts they need to set block by block priorities, become effective advocates, and secure funding; our clear process for tracking blight reduction has created a shared understanding of progress at City Hall; and comprehensive look at income levels in New Orleans is bringing leaders together to see that low wages, not high rents, are a key factor in New Orleans’ future success.