Research, Reports and Data Resources

The following links represent a selection of resources that provide research and analysis as well as data that can be manipulated and is often downloadable, searchable, and/or customizable.


The Building a Stronger Illinois web portal from the Forefront breaks down economic and workforce impacts of nonprofits, including many DFSS delegate agencies, in Illinois.

The Chicago Community Needs Summary Tool developed by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago allows users to choose up to five geographic areas by indicating a central address and a corresponding radius around that address. Once geographic areas are chosen, a chart will populate with data specific to that designated area. The website was designed to assist social service providers in developing grant applications.

The Chicago Jobs Council’s WIRE (Workforce Information and Resource Exchange) is an online portal that centralizes workforce development and other socioeconomic data for frontline providers, advocates, policy makers, and other workforce development stakeholders in Chicago and Illinois.

The City of Chicago Data Portal contains a selection of socioeconomic indicators and a “hardship index” by Chicago community area. The indicators are calculated using census tract-level estimates obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-year estimates.

Illinois Action for Children supports families in accessing affordable early care and education programs, and provides resources for child care providers in Cook County. They also provide data and reports to further the public understanding of early learning, and advocate for system improvements.

Illinois Commission on the Elimination of Poverty is an independent body focused on eliminating poverty in Illinois in a manner consistent with international human rights standards.  The commission produces annual reports on poverty to: 1) To create and monitor a specific, substantive, measurable strategic plan for cutting extreme poverty in Illinois; and 2) To offer advice and comment on state matters that may positively or negatively impact the state’s goal of ending poverty.

Illinois Partners for Human Service is a statewide network of organizations that advocate for high quality, responsible, and sustainable approaches to providing human service in Illinois.

Social IMPACT Research Center regularly reports on key trends related to poverty so that decision makers better understand how to address it through programs and public policy.

Thrive Chicago organizes the network of youth serving stakeholders, including public, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and drives collective action to make systemic changes for Chicago’s youth.


The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization dedicated to independent research and providing policy solutions that advance three broad goals: 1) Strengthen American democracy; 2) Foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and 3) Secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.

The Center for Law and Social Policy provides research, analysis, and advocacy on issues that affect low income people. Areas of research include Child Care and Early Education, Poverty and Opportunity, Youth, Workforce Training, and others.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities works at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Areas of research include economy, poverty and income, social security, welfare reform, food assistance, among others.

The Department of Health and Human Services publishes the annual Federal Poverty Guidelines that serve as a measurement tool to determine if an individual or family is living below the poverty guideline.

Kids Count is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track the well-being of children in the United States by providing data and trend analysis. Data can be queried by geographic boundary and data topic (e.g. Chicago, Children below 150% poverty, etc.).

The National Center for Children in Poverty is dedicated to promoting the economic security, health, and well-being of America’s low-income families and children.

The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. Working in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as a resource to and an advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns it represents.

The National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan conducts and promotes multidisciplinary, policy-relevant research and informs public discourse on the causes and consequences of poverty.

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides analysis and advocacy in advancing laws and policies to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty.

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more and seeks to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy.

The Urban Institute gathers data, conducts research, evaluates programs, offers technical assistance overseas, and educates Americans on social and economic issues to foster sound public policy and effective government.

Issue Areas

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States by improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders.

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) supports the national network of 618 Area Agencies on Aging and 246 Title VI programs through advocacy, training, and technical assistance for services and resources for older adults and persons with disabilities.

The National Community Action Foundation is a membership and advocacy organization that seeks to ensure the federal government preserves and strengthens programs that fight poverty, especially those delivered by Community Action Agencies.

The National Head Start Association works for policy changes that ensure all at-risk children have access to the Head Start model of support for the whole child, the family and the community.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence is a membership and advocacy organization of state domestic violence coalitions, allied organizations and supportive individuals that work to understand the ongoing and emerging needs of domestic violence victims and advocacy programs and to make sure those needs are heard and understood by policymakers at the national level.

The National Skills Coalition is a broad-based coalition that engages in organizing, advocacy, and communications to advance state and federal policies that support the goal of raising the skills of America’s workers across a range of industries.

* These organizations and resources are not endorsed by the Department of Family and Support Services, but are included because they provide information regarding the vulnerable populations DFSS serves.  Please contact us to suggest additional resources