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Research Center

Center for Economic Development


CEOs for Cities created the city dividend concept to catalyze collaborative economic progress in cities and regions. A city dividend is the economic benefit resulting from investing resources to successfully achieve a measurable, actionable goal toward your city’s and metro region’s economic progress. The objective of city dividends is to provide quantitative estimates of the economic benefits that metropolitan regions and cities could achieve by improving their performance on specific priority issues.

This report explores the Opportunity Dividend. The Opportunity Dividend examines individuals in poverty and the public money spent on combating poverty. Detailed methodology on how the Opportunity Dividend is calculated and associated data sources is included in Appendix A.

Opportunity Dividend

The Opportunity Dividend estimates how much the public sector can reduce its anti-poverty expenditures when there are fewer individuals in poverty. On one hand, there are many factors associated with poverty (e.g., crime, housing, hunger, and unemployment) that are not taken into consideration by the Opportunity Dividend. On the other hand, some of the public anti-poverty spending is not generated from the local government, but rather is money allocated from the federal government that is distributed by the states (Temporary Aid for Needy Families – TANF,) or is directly dispersed from the federal government (the Earned Income Tax Credit – EITC). In these instances, the dollars in public antipoverty spending could not have been saved by the local government because they were never generated at the local level. Total public anti-poverty spending used in the calculation of the Opportunity Dividend includes Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and other assistance payments.