A city’s rate of upward economic mobility from one generation to the next is strongly linked to its investment in its youth-serving nonprofits.
We used the extraordinary trove of IRS data (electronically filed 990 forms) first released in 2016 as the result of a public interest lawsuit. Researchers have only recently wrestled this data into a usable format and begun to analyze it.
Twenty-Five Largest Commuting Zones, Three Findings
We analyzed 990 tax form data of 4,306 youth-serving organizations in the 25 largest U.S. city commuting zones for the four-year period from 2009 through 2012. In 2008 and again in 2009, charitable giving in the U.S. did not increase—the longest such slow-down in charitable giving in the past 42 years. The time period we analyzed therefore captures the ability of a city’s youth-serving nonprofits to rebound from hard fiscal times and can also be seen as a sound proxy indicator of a city’s aggregate capacity for growth in these services.
Three findings emerged from our analysis when controlling for population size:
- Per capita investment in youth-serving nonprofits is linked to upward economic mobility. (Pearson R=.766 P-Value < .00001)
- High growth of youth-serving nonprofits—across a spectrum of budget sizes—is strongly linked to upward economic mobility. (Pearson R=.948 P-Value < .00001)
- The presence of small but growing youth-serving nonprofits is especially strongly linked with a city’s upward economic mobility. (Pearson R=.987 P-Value < .00001)
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