How Can You Improve Your City’s Financial Health?

How Can You Improve Your City’s Financial Health?
Caroline Ratcliffe, Cary Lou, Diana Elliott, Signe-Mary McKernan
Publication Date:
Find Full Text

A new Urban Institute data feature provides a snapshot of the economic well-being of residents in 60 cities across the country to tell the story of city financial health. The interactive dashboard captures residents’ ability to manage daily finances, be resilient to economic shocks, and pursue opportunity to move ahead. These aspects of financial health are captured with measures of delinquent debt, mortgage foreclosures, credit scores, and housing cost burden, among other factors. The financial health of residents and cities are closely connected, and the dashboard reveals that all cities face diverse challenges to securing and improving financial health. The cities are organized into nine peer groups to highlight shared challenges and promising interventions so that policymakers and other local stakeholders can not only see a picture of their city’s financial health, but identify strategies and take actions to address challenges.


  • Integrating financial and savings interventions into existing programs, such as housing, employment, and tax preparation, will allow for broader reach.
  • Programs that provide incentives, such as matching funds to save for a first home, can improve residents’ economic security.
  • Financial coaching, counseling, and innovative technology can help residents manage their daily finances and savings and build credit scores.