Exposing Urban Legends: The Real Purchasing Power of Central City Neighborhoods

The gap between “urban legends”-such as, “no one works in inner-city neighborhoods”-and urban realities is wide, and often the private marketing data that people rely on to provide accurate neighborhood information exacerbate these myths, to the detriment of cities, their residents, and businesses that miss urban opportunities. This study explains how researchers in Milwaukee created an alternative to private marketing data, using a variety of local and state data sources, and offers a template for using similar data to create urban economic profiles elsewhere.