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Evaluating Retirement Income Security for Illinois Public School Teachers (Research Report)
Richard W. Johnson, Benjamin G. Southgate

The financial problems afflicting Illinois’s teacher pension plan have grabbed headlines. An equally important problem, though underappreciated, is that relatively few teachers benefit much from the plan. Long-serving teachers receive generous pensions, but only 18 percent of teachers remain employed for at least 25 years. Only 24 percent of those who complete at least five years of service receive pensions worth more than the value of their required plan contributions. Alternative plan designs, such as cash balance plans, could distribute benefits more equitably and put more teachers on a path to a financially secure retirement.

Posted to Web: July 30, 2014Publication Date: July 30, 2014

Transforming Performance Measurement for the 21st Century (Research Report)
Harry P. Hatry

While substantial progress has been made in spreading performance measurement across the country and world, much of the information from performance measurement systems has been shallow. Modern technology and the considerable demand for information on progress in achieving the outcomes of public programs and policies are creating major opportunities for considerably improving the usefulness of performance information. This report provides a number of recommendations to help public and private service organizations take advantage of these opportunities, particularly for:(a) selecting appropriate performance indicators and data collection procedures; (b) analyzing and reporting the information; and (c) using the information to improve services.

Posted to Web: July 30, 2014Publication Date: July 30, 2014

Debt in America (Research Report)
Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan, Brett Theodos, Emma Kalish, Additional Authors

Debt can be constructive, allowing people to build equity in homes or finance education, but it can also burden families into the future. Total debt is driven by mortgage debt; both are highly concentrated in high-cost housing markets, mostly along the coasts. Among Americans with a credit file, average total debt was $53,850 in 2013, but was substantially higher for people with a mortgage ($209,768) than people without a mortgage ($11,592). Non-mortgage debt, in contrast, is more spatially dispersed. It ranges from a high of $14,532 in the East South Central division to a low of $17,883 in New England.

Posted to Web: July 29, 2014Publication Date: July 29, 2014

Delinquent Debt in America (Research Report)
Caroline Ratcliffe, Signe-Mary McKernan, Brett Theodos, Emma Kalish, Additional Authors

Roughly 77 million Americans, or 35 percent of adults with a credit file, have a report of debt in collections. These adults owe an average of $5,178 (median $1,349). Debt in collections involves a nonmortgage bill—such as a credit card balance, medical or utility bill—that is more than 180 days past due and has been placed in collections. 5.3 percent of people with a credit file have a report of past due debt, indicating they are between 30 and 180 days late on a nonmortgage payment. Both debt in collections and debt past due are concentrated in the South.

Posted to Web: July 29, 2014Publication Date: July 29, 2014

What Every Worker Needs to Know About an Unreformed Social Security System (Testimony)
C. Eugene Steuerle

In this testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security, Eugene Steuerle, Institute Fellow and Richard B. Fisher Chair at the Urban Institute discusses the fairness, efficiency and adequacy questions that arise almost no matter how much growth Congress maintains in Social Security. In particular he addresses three troubling aspects of an otherwise successful program: unequal justice; middle age retirement; and impact on the young.

Posted to Web: July 29, 2014Publication Date: July 29, 2014

1 in 3 Americans with a Credit File Has Debt Reported in Collections (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Thirty-five percent of adults have a debt in collections reported in their credit files, an Urban Institute study shows. Nevada, hit hard by the housing crisis, tops the list of states: 47 percent of people with a credit file have reported debt in collections. The state also has the highest average collections debt. Twelve other states (11 in the South) and the District of Columbia top 40 percent.

Posted to Web: July 29, 2014Publication Date: July 29, 2014

Taking Stock at Mid-Year: Health Insurance Coverage under the ACA as of June 2014 (Policy Briefs/Health Policy Briefs)
Sharon K. Long, Genevieve M. Kenney, Stephen Zuckerman, Douglas A. Wissoker, Adele Shartzer, Michael Karpman, Nathaniel Anderson, Katherine Hempstead

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has brought major changes to the US health insurance system: In January 2014, Medicaid was expanded to nearly all adults with family incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and enrollment under the new health insurance Marketplaces officially began in all states and the District of Columbia. We use the June 2014 Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS) to examine changes in health insurance coverage since the beginning of the previous year for nonelderly adults. The HRMS was designed to provide early feedback on ACA implementation to complement the more robust assessments that will be possible when the federal surveys release their estimates of changes in health insurance coverage later in 2014 and in 2015.

Posted to Web: July 29, 2014Publication Date: July 29, 2014

Who Are the Remaining Uninsured as of June 2014? (Policy Briefs/Health Policy Briefs)
Adele Shartzer, Genevieve M. Kenney, Sharon K. Long, Katherine Hempstead, Douglas A. Wissoker

It is now widely agreed that the number of nonelderly (age 18–64) uninsured adults has fallen dramatically since the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) Marketplace open enrollment began. According to the June 2014 Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS), the number of uninsured adults fell by an estimated 8 million between September 2013 and June 2014, with proportionately larger coverage gains among low- and middle-income adults and in states that implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. However, 13.9 percent of adults still remain uninsured as of June 2014. In this brief, we use data from the June 2014 wave of the HRMS to assess the characteristics of those who remain uninsured, providing valuable information for ongoing Medicaid outreach and enrollment efforts, as well as preparations for the next open enrollment period in the Marketplaces.

Posted to Web: July 29, 2014Publication Date: July 29, 2014

Navigating the Marketplace: How Uninsured Adults Have Been Looking for Coverage (Policy Briefs/Health Policy Briefs)
Stephen Zuckerman, Michael Karpman, Fredric Blavin, Adele Shartzer

A growing body of evidence shows that the number of uninsured adults declined significantly since the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period started in October 2013. Although the vast majority of people turned to websites for information on the federal or state Marketplaces, many consumers used, and will likely continue to use, other sources for health insurance plan information. In this brief, we focus on adults who were uninsured for some or all of the 12 months before June 2014. We consider the share who looked for information on health plans in the Marketplaces, comparing the approaches used by those who obtained coverage with those who remained uninsured as of June 2014. Our objective is to identify which approaches to obtaining Marketplace information are more likely to be associated with gaining insurance coverage.

Posted to Web: July 29, 2014Publication Date: July 29, 2014

How To Stop Corporations From Fleeing U.S. Tax Laws (Commentary)
Eric Toder

In a contribution to The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, Eric Toder explains why corporations expatriate from the United States and argues that they will continue to do so until Congress addresses the fundamental flaws in the corporate income tax. He then provides some possible solutions to end the erosion of the U.S. corporate tax base.

Posted to Web: July 28, 2014Publication Date: July 28, 2014

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