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Community Development Publications

Community Issues Survey

Twice a year, the Community Development Department at the Cleveland Fed administers the Community Issues Survey to more than 600 organizations across our region who have direct knowledge of issues impacting low- and moderate-income (LMI) people and communities. Respondents are asked about jobs, housing, financial well-being, access to credit, and other issues that have a significant impact on the welfare of the communities they serve. The spring survey includes questions to help us understand current trends; the fall survey’s questions help us monitor the changes in these trends.

Findings from the survey are shared two ways: through an annual Community Issues and Insights report and through our biannual update of the LMI Economic Condition Indices. These indices allow us to track trends in certain aspects of the economy over time.

Does your organization work directly with low- and moderate-income people? Would you like to receive the report or participate in the survey? Email us.

LMI Community Indices

These indices reflect changes in economic conditions in low- and moderate-income communities. In the indices referenced here, each response to a survey question is categorized as “increased,” “decreased,” or “no change.”

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Since March 2020, all four indices have declined, with more respondents indicating a worsening of conditions than respondents indicating an improvement in the availability of jobs and affordable housing, financial well-being, and access to credit in the past 6 months. Job availability saw the sharpest decline—51 percent more respondents believed job availability was worsening than improving in September 2020. This is a significant change from March 2020, when 25 percent more respondents believed the availability of jobs was improving than worsening. The lack of jobs may be one reason for responses regarding financial well-being: 75 percent more respondents believed financial well-being was worsening rather than improving in September 2020.

Note: A diffusion index is a compact way of summarizing data to understand trends. An index value greater than zero means that the average response indicates improving conditions. The values below zero indicate that more respondents selected a decrease in conditions than improvement in conditions for September 2020.

Most recent report

A Special Community Issues and Insights:

Findings from the 2020 Survey on Impacts of COVID-19 on Communities and the Organizations Serving Them

Past reports

Related content

Metro Mix
Snapshots of economic conditions and prospects for metro areas in our region.

An Uneven Recovery: Home Lending in the Fourth District by Race and Income
Our researchers examine home lending trends in our region by income and race so that policymakers and regulators may use the data to inform effective and appropriate policy.

Notes from the Field
Informal observations from our outreach team on what they’re seeing and hearing from constituents in our region.