Community Investment Explorer 2.0: About the Data

Introduction The Tool | About the Data

About the Data

Using the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s 2020 Census Flat File, we analyzed available capital flows at the community level (defined here as census tracts).Census tracts are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of a county or equivalent entity that are updated by local participants prior to each decennial census (every 10 years). They generally have a population of 1,200 to 8,000 with an optimum size of 4,000 people. Then we matched capital flows to community demographic characteristics such as income level, percentage of minority population, and distressed or underserved middle-income census tracts. The aggregation to the metropolitan and micropolitan areas is based on the Census Bureau’s core based statistical areas (CBSA) delineation file from March 2020.The U.S. Office of Management and Budget delineates metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas based on standards used in the 2010 Census and those in the 2011-15 American Community Survey, as well as from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program data. Each metropolitan statistical area must have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more inhabitants. Each micropolitan statistical area much have at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people.

Each program included in the CIE 2.0 has its own guidelines and criteria for allocating capital to certain populations or geographies.

Data from the CDBG program, the CDFI program and the NMTC consist of multiple uses of funds, which were aggregated from the source data into the following categories:

  • Business
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Housing
  • Other

Key Terms

  • The U.S. Office of Management and Budget delineates metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas based on standards used in the 2010 Census and those in the 2011-15 American Community Survey, as well as from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program data.
    • Each metropolitan statistical area must have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more inhabitants.
    • Each micropolitan statistical area must have at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people.
  • Annual Average Funding: Annualized amount of total program funding between 2012 and 2020.
  • Low- and Moderate-Income (LMI) Communities: Census tracts in which the median family income is below 80 percent of the area median income.
  • Communities of Color: Census tracts in which the race and ethnicity of most of the population is nonwhite.
  • Share of Funding in LMI Tracts: Percentage of program funding in low- and moderate-income census tracts within a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area.
  • Share of Funding in Majority Nonwhite Tracts: Percentage of program funding in majority-nonwhite census tracts within a metropolitan or micropolitan area.
  • Location Share of LMI Tracts: Percentage of census tracts within a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area that is considered low- or moderate-income.
  • Location Share of Majority Nonwhite Tracts: Percentage of census tracts within a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area in which most of the population identifies as nonwhite.  

Program Descriptions

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program: Administered by the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the CDBG program provides annual, formula-based (noncompetitive) grants to states and cities to support decent housing and a suitable living environment. The program also expands economic opportunities, principally for people with low and moderate incomes.

Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Program: Administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund, the CDFI program provides financial products and services to individuals and organizations that struggle with accessing capital from mainstream financial institutions.

CRA Small Business Lending: Small business loans—as measured by loans to businesses with annual revenues of less than $1 million—reported by bank lenders in accordance with Community Reinvestment Act requirements.

Historic Tax Credit Program: Administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service (NPS) and the IRS, the Historic Tax Credit program provides a tax credit for rehabilitating historic, income-producing buildings that are determined by NPS to be “certified historic structures.”

HOME Investment Partnership Program: Administered by HUD, the HOME program provides formula-based grants to states and localities that support creating or preserving affordable housing. 

Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program: Administered by HUD and the IRS, the LIHTC program provides states and local LIHTC-allocating agencies an annual budget authority to issue tax credits to acquire, rehabilitate or build rental housing targeted to households with lower incomes.

New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program: Administered by the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund, the NMTC program attracts private capital into low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a federal income tax credit in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial intermediaries called Community Development Entities.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the PPP is an SBA-backed loan that has helped businesses keep their workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

SBA 7A Program: Administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the 7A program provides financial assistance, such as loans and guarantees, to small businesses.

SBA 504 Program: Administered by U.S. Small Business Administration, the 504 Program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing of up to $5 million for major fixed assets that promote business growth and job creation.

Data Download

Three files are available for download:

For questions about the CIE 2.0, email Mike Eggleston at Michael.c.eggleston@stls.frb.org.


1 Census tracts are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions of a county or equivalent entity that are updated by local participants prior to each decennial census (every 10 years). They generally have a population of 1,200 to 8,000 with an optimum size of 4,000 people.

2 The U.S. Office of Management and Budget delineates metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas based on standards used in the 2010 Census and those in the 2011-15 American Community Survey, as well as from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program data. Each metropolitan statistical area must have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more inhabitants. Each micropolitan statistical area much have at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people.