Community Development Research Reports

Bank On National Data Hub

The Bank On movement is designed to improve the financial stability of America’s unbanked and underbanked. The St. Louis Fed and Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund established the Bank On National Data Hub to show metrics from financial institutions related to account openings, account usage and consistency, and online access. Data are aggregated and released annually.

Innovative Approaches to Investing with Impact in St. Louis  

This report features an overview of impact investing in St. Louis and emerging trends taking place nationally. It also includes case studies of bank partnerships, foundation partnerships and tax credit investor partnerships in St. Louis. 

Black Women Business Startups

Businesses owned by black women have experienced unprecedented growth over the past two decades, and their rise has the potential to significantly impact local economies and support the economic health of both rural and urban communities.

The Demographics of Wealth

The Demographics of Wealth is a series of essays written by the staff of the center. The essays are based on the staff’s analysis of over a quarter-century’s worth of data collected by the Federal Reserve through its Survey of Consumer Finances.

Archived Community Development Papers

Investing in America’s Workforce: Report on Workforce Development Needs and Opportunities (PDF)

This 2017 report analyzes information gathered from nearly 1,000 leaders who work at the intersection of workforce training, recruitment and finance. The study provides a current snapshot of the workforce development sector and its key challenges. It offers strategies for improving the human capital of America’s labor force, expanding access to jobs and innovating workforce development funding.

Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities

This publication focuses on regional food systems as a means for enhancing economic opportunity.

Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Startup Firms (PDF)

This report focuses on startups with employees, defined as small businesses that were five years old or younger and had full- or part-time employees in 2016.

Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Nonemployer Firms (PDF)

The Nonemployer Firm Report examines business conditions and the credit environment of small businesses with no employees other than the business owners. 

Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms (PDF)

This report focuses on the survey responses of 3,459 employer firms from 26 states. It sheds particular light on three sub-segments—startups, microbusinesses, and growing firms, or those with increasing revenues and employees and plans to increase or maintain their number of employees.

Impact Investing: Survey of Missouri Nonprofits (PDF)

The goal of this survey of nonprofit leaders throughout Missouri was to learn more about their interest in social entrepreneurial activities, their need for outside capital to finance such activities and their ability to receive impact investment capital. 

Innovative Ideas for Revitalizing the LIHTC Market (PDF)

This publication, produced by the Board of Governors' and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis' Community Affairs functions, features six short articles by experts with their ideas for bolstering the LIHTC program.

Casino Gambling in America and Its Economic Impacts (PDF)

Will a casino be a boon or bust for your community? Fed senior economist Thomas A. Garrett explores the effects of casino gambling on local employment, tax revenue and retail business in this research study.

Community Colleges: A Route of Upward Economic Mobility (PDF)

Community colleges play a critical and unique role in our higher education system. They are both a gateway to opportunities for individuals and a cornerstone for building a stronger economy. With the current economic crisis, their importance is magnified. In this report, St. Louis Fed economist Natalia Kolesnikova studies community colleges and their students. The report explores the advantages of community colleges and the characteristics of community college students, their goals, educational choices and outcomes.

Earnings Inequality within the Urban United States: 2000 to 2006 (PDF)

This study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis looks at one of the most striking economic trends in the United States: the ever-widening wage gap between workers at the top end of the pay scale and those at the low end. In the report, economist Christopher H. Wheeler discusses the reasons behind this continuing trend and what public policymakers can do about it. The study includes information on four metropolitan areas within the Eighth Federal Reserve District: Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis and St. Louis.

Economic Effects of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Implications for a Modern-day Pandemic (PDF)

In 1918, the United States experienced the most serious epidemic in its history. Millions of people were infected with the highly contagious influenza virus, and hundreds of thousands of people died. The possibility that a modern-day influenza outbreak could happen has caused researchers to look back to the 1918 pandemic as a foundational model for the likely effects of such an event on the United States. However, there has been relatively little research done on the economic effects of the pandemic. This report provides a concise discussion and analysis of the economic effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic based on available data and research.

The Effects of Recessions Across Demographic Groups (PDF) 

In this report, St. Louis Fed Economist Howard Wall takes the different effects of the recession on men and women as a starting point and examines employment experiences across a range of other demographic categories—marital status, race, age and education. The purpose is to understand more about what recessions mean to people. Such information should give us an idea of what needs to be done to address the effects of the current recession and to better prepare for future ones.

Employment Growth in America: Exploring Where Good Jobs Grow (PDF)

High-paying or “good” jobs not only benefit employees, but entire communities. Employers offering high-paying jobs tend to locate their businesses in certain types of communities. Economist Christopher H. Wheeler studied what promotes the growth of good jobs.

The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America: Case Studies from Communities Across the U.S. (PDF)

In 2006, the Community Affairs offices of the Federal Reserve System partnered with the Brookings Institution to examine the issue of concentrated poverty.The resulting report profiles 16 high-poverty communities from across the country, including immigrant gateway, Native American, urban and rural communities. One of the case studies focuses on Holmes County, Miss., located in the Federal Reserve’s Eighth District. With a poverty rate that stood at more than 41 percent in 2000, Holmes County is both geographically and economically isolated. Through these case studies, the report contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of poor people living in poor communities, and the policies that will be needed to bring both into the economic mainstream.

The Impact of Local Predatory Laws on the Flow of Subprime Credit (PDF)

Starting in 1999 with North Carolina, 24 states and other local governments have enacted laws to curb predatory lending in the subprime mortgage market. How do these laws affect the flow of subprime credit in those areas? A new report from Anthony Pennington-Cross, a research economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, suggests that the typical law has little impact, as measured by loan origination and application.

Light-Rail Transit in America: Policy Issues and Prospects for Economic Development (PDF)

Over the past several decades, cities across America have constructed light-rail systems as a means of reducing traffic congestion and promoting economic development. In this research report, Fed senior economist Tom Garrett discusses whether light rail has lived up to these expectations.

Local Crime and Local Business Cycles (PDF)

Do business cycles affect crime rates? A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis provides some answers to that question by presenting information on local business cycles and crime rates in 23 major cities. Written by Fed economist Thomas A. Garrett and senior research associate Lesli S. Ott, the report includes data for four cities in the Bank’s District: St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis.

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC): Challenges Presented by the Onset of Year 15 in the St. Louis Region (PDF)

This paper examines these challenges along with current and expected future trends in affordable housing preservation and development utilizing LIHTCs.

A Macro Overview of the Regional Economy: Structure and Performance of Selected Urban and Rural Counties in the Memphis Zone of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (PDF)

Prepared by David Ciscel, a professor of economics at the University of Memphis. Related to the economy of Memphis and the Delta region.

Neighborhood Characteristics Matter... When Businesses Look for a Location (PDF)

What is it about a neighborhood that attracts businesses? Economist Christopher Wheeler studies the issue in this study that looks at the data from a neighborhood level. The report looks at ZIP codes across the country and then focuses on the St. Louis Fed’s District, with data from St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis.

Passive Policies for Entrepreneurs (PDF)

A study by St. Louis Fed economists Thomas A. Garrett and Howard J. Wall finds that the absence of government intervention creates a better climate for entrepreneurship. Although policymakers often pursue active policies when recruiting businesses, such as targeted tax breaks or other incentives, more passive policies lower the general cost of running or starting a business and increase rates of entrepreneurship.

The Rise in Personal Bankruptcy (PDF)

In this research report released in 2006, economist Thomas A. Garrett examines why so many Americans file for bankruptcy. Between 1980 and 2005, the number went up nearly 350 percent, and many of those filing live in states the Bank serves. The most common cause is an unexpected shock to their incomes, such as job loss, medical bills or divorce. This report focuses on the role that other factors—such as availability of credit, bankruptcy laws and decreased consumer savings—play in making Americans even more susceptible to bankruptcy. The report includes statistical information on counties in the Federal Reserve’s Eighth District..

The Rising Residential Concentration of Joblessness in Urban America, 1980 to 2000 (PDF)

Between 1980 and 2000, America’s urban neighborhoods became increasingly polarized into high- and low-unemployment areas. Economist Christopher Wheeler presents his findings on this topic in this study of neighborhood-level unemployment in more than 360 U.S. cities. His report includes information on four metropolitan areas within the Eighth Federal Reserve District: Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis and St. Louis.

Urban Sprawl, Urban Promise: A Case Study of Memphis, Tennessee (PDF)

Prepared by David Ciscel, a professor of economics at the University of Memphis. Related to the economy of Memphis and the Delta region.

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