This post is intended to serve as a complement to the very comprehensive Research Guide on Community District Resources prepared by Barbara Gray, and available on the J-School’s Research Center page.  You will find it a handy resource as you work on your CD Beat Memo assignment

Community Boards

To find your Community Board, visit the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit.

Loaded with useful information:  Community Board address, neighborhoods covered, phone, email; name of District Manager, the where and when of monthly Community Board meetings…

Link to the Board’s website from this page and find the standing committees and members of the Board, minutes of board meetings, and useful links to agencies of

To get a good feel for the issues and concerns of the district, read the minutes of the board meetings and stay abreast of the topics under discussion by the various committees of the board – economic development, new fire house, more elementary schools, new/more bike lanes, affordable housing…

The Community Data Portal

The Community Data Portal leads you to valuable facts and data about all 59 community districts in the City, and provides a rich reservoir of story ideas for the intrepid journalist.

Scroll down the page to the map of the NYC Community Districts and select your CD, or choose a neighborhood from the drop down list; e.g. Brooklyn CD12

The District Profile tab provides the opening act .  Get a quick look at the geographic boundaries of your CD; see the change in population from the last two censuses; find out how many are receiving medicaid; get vital statistics, etc.

Using your assigned CD as an example, can you find one fact or any data that stands out?

The Projects and Resources tab leads to City Planning Commission reports on land use and more detailed information about your Community District Resources.  Have a look at the community board’s most recent Statement of Needs; this is where issues regarding public safety, city services, infrastructure and other community needs are discussed and proposals for change introduced.  Examine the board’s Budget for current capital projects and use the list of selected Facilities and program sites to find schools, hospitals, parks, planned green ways, social services agencies…. 

The Population Data tab will yield a trove of data about your CD; the data is shown by census tracts, community districts, PUMA and NTA geographies, so it’s imperative that you take a minute to scroll down the page and familiarize yourself with the size and boundaries of each of these geographic entities.

If you are trying to get a feel for the face of your CD, then take advantage of the quick demographic summaries provided when you Research Your Community District or Research Your Block

And, if you want an even more granular feel, then delve into the data provided by the American Community Survey (ACS) estimates.  The most complete picture – social, economic, housing and demographic – of the Community District will be found in the estimates which are shown by PUMAs and NTAs.

In addition to the standard demographic data on population, age, race, and sex, the ACS data provides economic and social data as well.  So if you are trying to find the median household income for your CD, then you might elect to view the PUMA Economic Profile or if you want to see the same data at the neighborhood level, then select NTA Economic Profile.

NYC Census FactFinder

The NYC Census FactFinder is a gem of a resource, and the added newly released ACS data makes for an even more robust search experience.  Search by census tract or neighborhood tabulation area; compare data from the 2000 and 2010 censuses and take advantage of the convenience of having the most recent ACS estimates at your fingertips.

Look for data that could be useful in painting a picture of the face of unemployment and poverty in that neighborhood.  For example:

Let’s look at the Soundview-Bruckner neighborhood in Bronx CD 9

Click on 2009-2013 ACS Profile – economic.

What useful data points can you find to bolster anecdotal evidence you’ve gathered from your reporting on (un)employment, earnings and poverty in this community?

Click on 2009-2013 ACS Profile and select the “economic” data tab


More CD and Neighborhood Resources

Government & Politics

For beat memo queries having to do with government and politics, the Land Use and Community Mapping Resources is an excellent starting point.  (I’m using Brooklyn CD 9 (Crown Heights South) as an example).

If you’re looking for the various Political Districts (city council, assembly, state senate), you’ve hit pay dirt.

And if you’re trying to identify the district’s elected officials, check out the NYCityMap.

Use the ‘advanced search’ option and search by address; e.g. 340 New York Avenue

[Be sure to check ‘append search to map’]

Click ‘Find’

Select ‘Official Election Information’ (in left navigation bar).  Note links to official websites.

In election years, there is always a clamor for voter enrollment figures; and one can certainly add value to a political story by being able to cite solid enrollment numbers by party affiliation. The NYC Board of Elections site is your go-to spot.


[In Class Drill – finding immigrants in your CD]

One of your beat memo queries will ask you to find data on immigrant groups in your CD.  Your best source is Social Explorer (available on the J-School website). Here’s a tipsheet to show you how.


A word about religion data.

The Census Bureau does not provide religion statistics. The Association of Religion Data Archives’ (ARDA) Religion 2010 InfoGroup , available via Social Explorer, is a good source for researching religious trends.

Follow these simple protocols:

Begin Report

For Geographic type select ‘Public Use Microdata Area’

Select your state

Select ­your PUMA

Click ‘Add’

Proceed to Tables

Select ‘Major Traditions’ – total number of congregations


[In Class Drill – finding the top employers in your neighborhood]

When looking for data on your CD’s largest employers, use RefUSA; it’s available via the J-School page, and the ‘how to’ is very strait forward:

Select ‘U.S. Businesses Database’

Choose ‘Custom Search’

Search by geography, then neighborhood (or zip code)

Follow the prompts for ‘State’ and ‘Metro Area’

Type the name of your neighborhood in ‘Filter Choices’

In left navigation bar, select ‘Business Size’ – ‘Number of Employees’ – ‘Show More Options’

Select ‘Location Only’

In the space for ‘Actual Number of Employees’ type ‘From 200’; leave ‘To’ blank

View Results

Click on the down arrow for ‘Corp. Tree’ and select ‘Employees’

Rank Employees


For all things health related start with the Environment and Health Data Portal.  Find community health surveys, data on asthma, obesity, bed bugs, and much more.

The NYC Agency Performance Report shows the performance of major city agencies; click on an agency in the indicator column to view data CD and by indicator.

The Mayor’s Management Report is a must have for all NYC beat reporters.  Released twice yearly, it is the report card of the Mayor’s service and of the performance of the many agencies that serve the city’s residents.

Find statistics on children and youth – abuse and neglect, detention, foster care placements, and other child welfare statistics, use the Administration for Children’s Services Statistics and Links

You can keep abreast of the progress of elementary and secondary school students by using the Department of Education School Performance and Accountability reports

Find the buildings owned and operated by NYCHA here: NYCHA Developments.  The ‘address guide’ is the most convenient means of identifying NYCHA properties in your CD.  And don’t forget about NYU’s Furman Center annual reports on the state of NYC housing and neighborhoods.