Research to Develop a Community Needs Index
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded this research for the purpose of developing an index of community needs. Such an index would take information from various public databases on different types of community problems and produce an overall assessment of a community’s needs. As far back as 1976, HUD devoted its own staff resources to studying community needs and devising ways to synthesize various types of needs into an overall index of needs. HUD’s efforts have been sporadic because the primary source of data on community needs has been the decennial censuses, and thus new information on needs has been available only at 10-year intervals. Now, the American Community Survey (ACS) will provide every year the information that previously was available only from the decennial censuses. The annual availability of information through the ACS makes a community needs index much more valuable for HUD.