Search Results for: Baltimore Neighborhood indicators

Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance

BNIA - Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators AllianceThe goal and mission of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance – Jacob France Institute (BNIA-JFI) of the University of Baltimore is to provide accurate data and objective research to a wide range of groups, organizations, and agencies that result in positive policy change. BNIA-JFI strengthens the principle and practice of well-informed decision making to support stronger neighborhoods, an improved quality of life, and a thriving city. This is accomplished through providing accurate, reliable, and accessible and actionable data, indicators, and research that describe the social economic and quality of life issues impacting the City and its neighborhoods.

Vital Signs

Vital Signs are groups of related data points compiled from a variety of reliable sources that “take the pulse” of Baltimore’s neighborhoods. Each Vital Sign comprises a set of data which, taken together, form a picture of any given neighborhood’s quality of life and overall health.

The Vital Signs help BNIA, community members, decision makers, and funders to measure progress towards meaningful, positive outcomes at the community level, and measure needs in specific and actionable ways.

Grow Baltimore

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Grow Baltimore in December 2011 with the goal of increasing Baltimore City’s population by 10,000 new households by 2020. In partnership with the Goldseker Foundation, the City aims to target retention strategies using data on former and current residents. Several City agencies and community partners have been working towards this goal independently through their strategies, services, and programs. However, there is a need for a coordinated overarching strategy to achieve the Mayor’s goal of achieving sustained population growth. The Goldseker Foundation funded BNIA-JFI to produce actionable information for the Mayor’s Office, city departments, and local nonprofit organizations to further the Grow Baltimore initiative. BNIA-JFI released a series of reports—“Grow Baltimore: Who’s Moving, Where and Why”—which offers details about factors that influence population trends in the city.

“Pull” Factors: Elements associated with Baltimore that attract residents to city living and encourage them to stay:

  • Growing Employment Sectors and Anchor Institutions
  • Location (i.e., proximity to Washington, D.C. and the mid-Atlantic region)
  • Sense of Place and Community Associated with Urban Living
  • Cultural and Economic Diversity
  • Growing Population of New Americans
  • Large Stock of Affordable Housing

“Push” Factors: Elements associated with Baltimore that dissuade residents from city living or cause them to consider relocating:

  • Public Safety (particularly property crime)
  • School Quality
  • Transportation Access and Connectivity
  • Government Customer Service
  • Taxes and “City-Living Premiums” (e.g., higher car insurance rates)
  • Housing Quality and Size (particularly relevant to growing families and middle-income retirees)

These efforts, plus those of Live Baltimore through its new Way To Stay website, featuring resources to assist families as they explore local education options, are part of a trend to encourage local residents to stay in Baltimore, and to welcome new families to the city.

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grant

The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance – Jacob France Institute has been working with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to provide data analysis and evaluation services for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grant (BCJI). The goal of the BCJI program is to improve community safety by designing and implementing effective, evidence-based approaches to addressing crime within a targeted neighborhood, as part of a broader strategy to advance neighborhood revitalization through cross-sector, community-based partnerships.
A variety of the project’s resources are available at, including:

  • Full plan from the planning process (2013-2014)
  • Literature review on evidence-based practices for crime reduction
  • Online asset map
  • Maps presentations, and other data graphics
  • Profiles of key hotspot areas in McElderry Park
  • Links to partners

Baltimore Data Day 2015

Baltimore Data Day logoBaltimore Data Day is an annual workshop to help communities expand their capacity to use technology and data to advance their goals. At the 6th Annual Baltimore Data Day held on July 9-10, community leaders, nonprofit organizations, governmental entities and civic-minded “hackers” came together to see the latest trends in community-based data, technology and tools and learn how other groups are using data to support and advance constructive change. Baltimore Data Day is structured around a series of “how to” interactive workshops in which people who work with data will explain what data is available, how to access data, and why data can be actionable for communities. To see presentations, visit

For more information about about this program visit the BNIA website at or contact bnia-jfi [at] ubalt [dot] edu at (410) 837-4377

Federal Projects


The Federal Employment Data Exchange System, or FEDES, is a program that provides information on federal employment to participating states to help them meet their reporting requirements. Quarterly data exchanges are conducted with two federal agencies: the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Defense, Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC).

For over 10 years The Jacob France Institute has been responsible for the technical operations of the program, while the Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation oversees the administrative management of FEDES. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
If you have any questions regarding the FEDES project please contact Stacey Lee, Project Manager email: smlee [at] ubalt [dot] edu or 410-837-4687.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service

Economic Research on the Joint Contribution of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) to the Nation’s Safety Net


New SNAP Recipients with Earnings, 2006-2009
Data Source: JFI calculations based on administrative records received from the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR).

JFI is the lead partner of a five state consortium (Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and Texas) analyzing the interaction of SNAP caseload and recipient household composition dynamics aligned with receipt of UI benefits and participation in UI covered employment. Using linked state administrative records for SNAP, UI wage records and UI benefits, the alignment in time between individuals’ receipt of UI benefits and SNAP benefits is examined, including how much overlap occurs in the receipt of benefits and how long do households receive UI benefits before receiving SNAP benefits.

Interactive Map of Community Managed Open Spaces

In 2013, the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA-JFI) piloted a publicly- accessible, interactive map for this purpose using the pattern community-managed open space. Now, in 2014, BNIA-JFI is enhancing the map features and adding a second element for stormwater management. Future iterations of the map will include components of the remaining six green patterns.This mapping project was funded through an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station.

David Epstein, Ph.D.

David Epstein

Research Associate

David Epstein, Ph.D. examines the ties between decision-making and information access, especially in regard to interventions made by public agencies, community based organizations and philanthropy in distressed urban areas. Dr. Epstein’s methodological approach combines quantitative, spatial and qualitative methods. His prior research focuses on a neighborhood indicators system in Cleveland and provides a generalizable framework for identifying situations in which parcel-based data systems help community development corporations rehabilitate vacant and abandoned housing. Dr. Epstein was a Fulbright Fellow in Israel (2006) where his work revealed the sharp tensions between environmental conservation and economic development in a Galilean valley. From 1999 to 2004, Dr. Epstein worked for the labor union, UNITE, both as an organizer and as a strategist. He holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan.

Current Projects

Nancy Jones

Nancy Jones

Data Manager

Nancy Jones is the Data Manager of Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute. She has 15 years of experience analyzing geospatial variation of human factors influencing urban systems. Recognizing that the results of these analyses are integral elements needed for community storytelling, Nancy works toward generating data that can be used to inform decision making. Nancy built and manages a comprehensive database, including all of the data held by BNIA, which informs the annual Vital Signs report, as well as other research initiatives.

She has previously worked for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council where she provided demographic analysis for the Baltimore region’s cooperative forecasting group. Prior to returning to her hometown of Baltimore, she worked as a Research Associate at Arizona State University (ASU), studying long-term social and ecological trends in urban ecosystems. Nancy received her B.S. in Biology from Old Dominion University and her Master’s in Urban and Environmental Planning from ASU.


Seema D. Iyer, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Seema D. Iyer PhD is associate director and research assistant professor for the Jacob France Institute in the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business and has overseen the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance since 2011. Dr. Iyer holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, specializing in comprehensive and strategic planning for community development. She serves on several community-oriented boards including Baltimore City Head Start and the Baltimore Community Foundation Neighborhoods Committee and in 2010, she was recognized as one of Maryland’s Leading Women by the Daily Record. She is co-chair and teaches in the University of Baltimore’s Real Estate & Economic Development program.

Prior to joining UB, Iyer served as Chief of Research & Strategic Planning for Baltimore City’s Planning Department and was responsible for data and policy analysis, geographic information systems services and population forecasting. She spearheaded the city’s 2010 Census Complete Count Campaign as well as other planning processes such as the 2009 Food Policy Task Force and the 2008 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. She earned her MA in regional science and BA in mathematics and Russian studies, both from the University of Pennsylvania.


In The News


  • Vital Signs 15 Provides Data Tracking Quality of Life in Baltimore’s Neighborhoods
    University of Baltimore
    April 12, 2017
  • Drilling into Baltimore’s population loss
    The Baltimore Sun
    March 28, 2017
  • Baltimore County expects these industries to drive employment
    Baltimore Business Journal
    March 2, 2017
  • Report on Baltimore Sustainable Cities Initiative Establishes Framework for Setting Targets
    University of Baltimore
    February 27, 2017
  • Growing pains in Pigtown: Ousted community president leads new group, just down the block
    Baltimore Sun
    February 13, 2017
  • Eyeing the new boss warily, federal workers prepare for deep cuts under Trump
    Baltimore Sun
    January 7, 2017
  • 2016