Obama Turns to Big Data for Bolstering Economic Mobility

The White House on Monday announced a new “Opportunity Project” to amass online practical information about jobs, housing, transportation, schools, and other neighborhood services. That information would be made available on a new website, Opportunity.census.gov.

A fact sheet says that the site could empower “technologists, community groups, and local governments in order to help families find affordable housing, help businesses identify services they need, and help policymakers see inequities in their communities and make investments to expand fair housing and increase economic mobility.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will contribute a new mapping tool that will allow individuals to make better informed decisions when investing in a new home. The White House hopes this will “expand access to opportunity” while reducing segregation. The U.S. Census Bureau will provide data about the country’s economy and population.

The site will also detail community services in eight cities, providing information on playgrounds, grocery stores, and health clinics. Residents of Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. will be the first to have access to that utility.

The Obama Administration is bringing in partners from the private sector to bolster the project including Zillow, Redfin, and Streetwyze.