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 Data from USDA’s programs–the Multi-Family Housing Guarantee Program and the Business and Industry Guarantee Program–were acquired through a data sharing agreement. Otherwise, all program data is publicly available. 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.

Capital flows are based on the project location (i.e., location of business, housing development, commercial real estate development, etc.). Each program included in the CIE 2.0 has its own guidelines and criteria for allocating capital to certain populations or geographies. For example, the CDFI program allocates capital using both place-based and people-based criteria.

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

  • Business
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Housing
  • Other

Key Terms

  • Annual average funding: Annualized amount of total program funding between 2012 and2020.
  • Low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities: Census tracts in which the median family income is below 80% of the area median income.
  • Communities of color: Census tracts in which the race and ethnicity of the majority 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 located 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 the majority 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 grants on a formula basis to states and cities to support decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons with low and moderate income.

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 revenues below $1 million, reported by bank lenders pursuant to the Community Reinvestment Act requirements.

Historic Tax Credit program: Administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service (NPS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Historic Tax Credit program provides a tax credit for the rehabilitation of 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 grants on a formula basis to states and localities that support the creation or preservation of 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 for the acquisition, rehabilitation or new construction of rental housing targeted to households with lower income.

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 investment in specialized financial intermediaries called Community Development Entities.

Paycheck Protection program (PPP): Administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the PPP provides SBA-backed loans that help businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 pandemic

SBA 7A program: Administered by the SBA, the 7A program provides financial assistance, such as loans and guarantees, to small businesses.

SBA 504 program: Administered by SBA, 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.

USDA Business and Industry Guarantee program: Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development agency, this program offers loan guarantees to lenders for their loans to rural businesses.

USDA Multi-Family Housing Guarantee program: Administered by the USDA’s Rural Development agency, this program works with qualified private-sector lenders to provide financing to qualified borrowers to increase the supply of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income households in eligible rural areas.

Data Download

There are  three files are available for download:

  • CIE 2.0_Data Download.csv” includes geocoded program data aggregated to the 2010 Census Tract. It omits data from USDA's two programs included in the CIE – Multi-Family Housing Guarantee Program and Business and Industry Guarantee Program – as those data were acquired through a data sharing agreement between USDA and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • CIE 2.0_Data Download_Purpose.csv” includes use of funds for the three programs—CDBG, CDFI and NMTC—that allocate capital to multiple activities.
  • CIE 2.0 Data Dictionary_Data Sources.xlsx” includes definitions for key terms as well as information about the source data.

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


i Data from USDA’s programs–the Multi-Family Housing Guarantee Program and the Business and Industry Guarantee Program–were acquired through a data sharing agreement. Otherwise, all program data is publicly available.

ii 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.

iii 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.


1 It omits data from USDA's two programs included in the CIE – Multi-Family Housing Guarantee Program and Business and Industry Guarantee Program – as those data were acquired through a data sharing agreement between USDA and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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