June 2023

Learn about the opportunity to pilot the corporate standards


Download this invitation to pilot new corporate standards tackling inequality and advancing equity.

May 2023

2022 PolicyLink and PolicyLink Equity Action Network Consolidated Audited Financial Statements


We have audited the accompanying consolidated financial statements of PolicyLink and PolicyLink Equity Action Network, which comprise the consolidated statement of financial position as of December 31, 2022, and the related consolidated statements of activities, functional expenses, and cash flows for the year then ended and the related notes to the consolidated financial statements.

May 2023

Bias and Discrimination in Digital Advertising


Author: Danaë Metaxa (University of Pennsylvania) 

This white paper examines the digital advertising ecosystem, with a particular focus on social inequality. It begins in Section 1 by introducing the concept of a sociotechnical system and the challenges of studying such systems empirically: these systems are dynamic, their data are ephemeral, they are embedded deeply in people’s everyday lives, and they are highly personalized. Next, Section 2 introduces the reader to digital advertising, beginning with a brief history of advertising before the digital era and continuing to explain the technical infrastructure that underlies this ecosystem. Section 3 then delves into bias and discrimination in digital ads on both a theoretical level (legal context and types of bias) and a summarization of work that has empirically studied discrimination in digital ads. Finally, Section 4 concludes by discussing why these issues persist and how we might change them—from better research to law and policy.

May 2023

Algorithmic Discrimination: A Framework and Approach to Auditing & Measuring the Impact of Race-Targeted Digital Advertising


Author: Charlton McIlwain (New York University) 

The algorithmic systems and platforms that facilitate race-based targeted advertising and mark are the focal point of increased scrutiny by civil rights activists, advocacy organizations, policymakers, technologists, and others. Consensus is growing that these automated, algorithmic systems discriminate against and produce tangible harms that disproportionately impact communities and people of color. However, we collectively know less about the demonstrable ways that racial discrimination takes place in our contemporary digital advertising ecosystem. Further, we have fewer ways to think about how to conceptualize and document the potential impacts and harms of race-based advertising in both legacy media forms and especially in today’s digital media landscape, which is driven by search engines, digital advertising and marketing platforms, and a complex infrastructure of advertising and data technologies that create the systems and structures defining the business of advertising and marketing today.

This report and the research that produced it aims to accomplish the following:

1. Illuminate how marketers and advertisers target individuals and communities based on race in today’s digital advertising systems.

2. Identify policy challenges and interventions to help mitigate the impact of algorithmic discrimination in advertising and marketing practice.

3. Provide an alternative way of conceptualizing, measuring, and documenting the potential impacts and/or harms produced by race-based target marketing and advertising structured by digital marketing and advertising platforms.

4. Help the research and policy community think about what types of data can be marshaled to better understand the ways that racial targeting works in today’s digital advertising landscape and to help formulate methods for utilizing data to shape our understanding about how this industry practice produces discriminatory impacts and harms.

5. Provide grounding for all of the above in the systemic, structural, and historical context at the intersection of critical race theory, technological development, and advertising practice.

Examining Affordability for Asian American and Pacific Islander Renters in Metro America

Dear Atlas users,

Atlas data shows that at least half of renters are currently rent burdened in 57 of the 100 largest cities in the United States. Research has shown that rent-burdened households are more likely to experience financial instability and be at risk of eviction. Through our research, we continue to explore how housing unaffordability impacts families across the nation. Here are the latest updates from the Atlas:

New Atlas Research Illustrates The Uneven Geography of Affordability for Asian American and Pacific Islander Renters

The second report in our series exploring the changing geography of opportunity in American metropolitan regions indicates that Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) renters experienced an uneven distribution of housing affordability across ethnic groups and geographic regions during the period between the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic. Our analysis of changes in market rent and median household income for AAPI residents in the 100 largest US metros shows that AAPI residents have been disproportionately concentrated in the least affordable regions. It also underscores that AAPI communities’ relatively high median incomes can obscure the presence of many low-income AAPI renters who struggle with finding safe and secure housing. To further illustrate these findings, we explore the various housing challenges that AAPI residents face in the Honolulu, Atlanta, Philadelphia/New York, and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Visit the project page to assess other resources, including a dashboard you can use to explore the differences between and within AAPI communities across the US.

An Equity Profile of Kalamazoo County

Kalamazoo County, Michigan, is growing more diverse. But our latest equity profile — developed in partnership with the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and local community leaders — details how a long history of racial discrimination and disinvestment in the region’s communities of color have created entrenched and persistent racial inequities in employment, income, wealth, education, health, justice, housing, and transportation. These growing gaps are costing the county an estimated $1 billion in potential economic growth each year. Learn more.

Data Update: Rent Debt Dashboard

Our updated Rent Debt Dashboard shows that more than 5 million renters remain in debt, with an estimated total rent debt of more than $11 billion nationwide, as of April 10. The majority of those behind on rent are low-income people of color. This new data underscores the magnitude of the rent debt crisis in communities across the country and the continued urgency of providing tenant protections to keep families in their homes and curb the surge of evictions that have followed the end of pandemic eviction moratoriums.

Meet the 2024 Class of National Equity Atlas Fellows

In case you missed it, we announced our second cohort of equity champions — 10 grassroots leaders of color from across the nation who will spend the next year sharpening their data skills and producing new data visualizations and other research products to strengthen their organization’s policy and advocacy campaigns. In the face of mounting challenges, the Atlas remains committed to bolstering the impact of dedicated advocates who reflect the communities they serve, which is a critical ingredient to winning on equity. Learn more about our fellowship program.

Atlas in the News

Over the past few months, Atlas data and analyses have been cited in dozens of news articles: Findings from our September 2022 report on Prop 22’s impact on rideshare drivers was cited in a piece from The San Francisco Standard about rideshare and food delivery drivers grappling with tipping issues. The report was also cited in a piece from The Guardian about drivers calling for the regulation of rideshare companies. Our rent debt data was cited in a CalMatters article on rising evictions in Los Angeles County and a CNBC article detailing solutions for those grappling with rent debt. To explore more of our media coverage, visit our news archive.

We Want to Hear from You!

If you’ve found any of our data, research, or resources valuable, please let us know. Share your questions, thoughts, and stories with us at info@nationalequityatlas.org.

— The National Equity Atlas Team at PolicyLink and the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI)

An In-depth Look at the Bay Area's Housing Crisis

Dear Atlas users,

The Bay Area has long been entangled in a housing crisis — and all signs point to it continuing to worsen. Our latest analysis and feature story illustrate how rising housing costs and uneven wage growth are straining household budgets and jeopardizing the region’s diversity, growth, and prosperity. With a renewed push to tackle the region's housing crisis underway, data on how it is affecting residents is a key ingredient in securing the policies needed to stabilize families and keep them in their homes. Here are more housing-related updates from the Atlas:

Bay Area Residents Grapple with an Ongoing Housing Crisis and Rising Housing Costs

In the third analysis in our four-part series on the region’s recovery, we examine how Covid-19 has impacted housing affordability. The most current data shows that neighborhoods across the entire nine-county region have become less affordable for renters and homebuyers alike since the pandemic began. An estimated 89,000 Bay Area households were behind on rent at the end of February, with residents of color bearing an outsized share of this regional rent debt. Renters have also accrued significant amounts of “shadow debt” because they’ve been forced to borrow money from people or lending institutions to cover their unpaid rent. Explore the Bay Area Recovery Tracker to delve deeper into the data and our insights.

In Focus: Rent Burden in the Bay Area

At the beginning of the pandemic, Joseph Alvarez moved to an apartment complex in Petaluma with his wife and children. It was the closest and most affordable option near his job in San Rafael. When their lease was up for renewal, the family was hit with a rent increase. Now, Joseph worries that they’ll be priced out of the area if this trend continues because his income is not increasing at the same rate. He is among 24 percent of the renters in Petaluma who are severely rent burdened, those who spend 50 percent or more of their monthly income on rent. In the nine-county region, nearly half (47 percent) of renters are rent burdened, which means that 30 percent of their income goes toward paying rent. Learn more about Joseph’s story — and find data on eliminating rent burden for your community.

Photo: Felix Uribe

Atlas in the News

Over the past month, our data and insights have been featured in several local outlets. Here’s a brief roundup: the San Francisco Chronicle's Soleil Ho included data from our homeownership indicator in an op-ed about the fight over tenant protections in the Bay Area. Mercury News also cited Atlas data on homeownership rates in a piece about the growing gap between Black and white homeownership across the region. The Bay Area New Group’s Kiley Russell covered our report on the economic challenges still facing the region’s communities of color and low-income communities. For more Atlas-related media coverage, explore our news archive.

Thank you,

Bay Area Equity Atlas team