In the first phase of "Putting Data to Work," CUR has consulted with the New York Immigration Coalition’s network of over 150 immigrant advocacy and service organizations to identify their data needs. These needs include general information relevant to all immigrant organizations, ethnicity- or national origin-based information relevant to specific groups, and topically-based information relevant to organizations working on high priority policy areas or issue campaigns.
In the second phase, CUR constructed data sets designed to meet the needs identified in the first phase. The data sets are based on the 1990 and 2000 Census Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) and the Census Summary Files (SF1 and SF3 tract-level files), as well as subsequent federal surveys (March Current Population Surveys, American Community Survey). We augmented these data with locally available public data sets, such as the fertility and mortality data of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Housing and Vacancy Surveys, and New York City's 311 complaint hotline statistics (see map above as an example of 311 data mapped in relation to demographics).
These data sets will not only be a product in themselves, but have provided the basis for the third phase of the project, customized analysis in response to the immediate policy or program priorities of immigrant advocacy and service organizations identified with the NYIC. The NYIC has major initiatives under way with many of its member organizations concerning language issues (including teaching English as a second language and providing translators in various settings), access to health care, workers’ rights, and the situation of undocumented immigrant students in higher education, especially CUNY. In this pilot phase, we will focus the topical data analysis on two areas (to be specified during the first phase) in which the NYIC is coordinating working groups.
One outcome of the project is a report titled "Living in Isolation: How language barriers shut immigrant New Yorkers out of critical City housing services." The report was released in March 2007; it is available in PDF format here. It confirms that linguistically isolated households need greater access to housing services. (The map above is taken from the report.) Yet, these New Yorkers are limited in their ability to access city housing services because of language and cultural barriers. The report also indicates that linguistically isolated New Yorkers have benefited far less from improved housing-complaint-collection processes than other New Yorkers.
Based on the initial phases of this project, CUR will work with NYIC to distill the lessons into a set of training materials for use in teaching immigrant service and advocacy organizations about integrating a wide range of demographic and statistical data into their day-to-day work. This phase will include piloting both shorter, broader presentations to a wide range of organizations and lengthier, more in-depth training to a small group of individuals, selected by NYIC.