About the Dashboard

The Guaranteed Income Pilots Dashboard is designed to visualize data from 30+ guaranteed income pilots across the United States. This data and testimonies from participants shed light on ways in which unconditional cash is providing people the opportunity, freedom, and resilience to build financial security. The Dashboard launched in September 2022 with aggregate spending data, which will be updated quarterly.

The Dashboard is a partnership of the Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR), the Stanford Basic Income Lab (BIL), and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI). CGIR is an applied research center specializing in cash-transfer research, evaluation, pilot design, and narrative change. BIL is an academic center for the study of the politics, philosophy, and economics of universal basic income and related cash policies. MGI is a network of mayors advocating for a guaranteed income to ensure an income floor for all Americans who need one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Guaranteed Income

What is guaranteed income?

Guaranteed income is a cash payment provided on a regular basis to individuals or households, with no work requirements, and no strings attached. It is intended to create an income floor below which no one can fall and promote the dignity of all. Guaranteed income shares close ties with other unconditional cash programs like universal basic income and the negative income tax. Guaranteed income payments are often targeted to individuals with the greatest need in a community.


How many guaranteed income pilots are there currently?

The Dashboard currently features 21 pilots, and it was designed to feature 30+ pilots whose research is evaluated by CGIR and Abt Associates. The Stanford Basic Income Lab’s Global Map presents these pilots, as well as many more past and ongoing pilots, across key design features.


What do guaranteed income pilots and demonstrations seek to achieve?

This wave of pilots across the U.S. builds the case for a guaranteed income at the local, state, and federal level. The evidence gathered through pilots tells the story of those struggling to achieve economic security and helps inform the conversation about guaranteed income policy. There is a lot that we already know about the positive effects of unconditional cash. Unconditional cash has a range of important benefits for participants and their communities, including improved health, income security, and employment. While previous research has focused mostly on labor and employment outcomes, this new wave of pilots will yield extensive research across a range of health, social, community, economic, and labor impacts. And while the economic benefits are most obvious, positive impacts on well-being, belonging, and self-worth are also critical to our understanding of guaranteed income.

Data

What is spending data, and how was it collected?

Spending data shows how guaranteed income pilot participants spend their money. The spending data presented on the Dashboard reflects transactions within a bank account or on a debit card. Cash transactions, which represent 40% of spending, are not included in spending data. For participants who linked their guaranteed income debit cards to their main bank account, the entirety of their spending data is shown, not just how they spend the guaranteed income.

The landing page spending graph combines results from all guaranteed income participants across all pilots from the beginning to the end of payments to participants, or through July 2022 for programs that are ongoing. Each pilot page graph presents results from all participants from that site in the same time frame. Oakland and Baltimore do not have spending data at this time. So, aggregate spending data does not include Baltimore and Oakland. Additionally, spending and demographic data only reflects the first cohort of 100 mothers of The Bridge Project’s (New York City) 600 participants.


Why is spending data important?

There are pervasive and harmful stereotypes about recipients of cash assistance. Some of these myths are about low-income families and the ability of people of color to spend responsibly, save, and invest in their future. Historically, these myths have been used to oppose welfare programs. Although it takes much more than data to challenge these stereotypes and myths, spending data can help shift our narratives on poverty and cash. Guaranteed income participants spend most of their income on the same things everyone else spends their money on: basic necessities. Some guaranteed income participants are able to pay off debts and save for future emergencies. Others are able to use their cash in ways that help them find employment.


What types of spending are included in each category?

Educational expenses: Tuition and fees required to enroll at or attend an educational institution (primary/secondary/college/vocational/technical schools), and tutoring services.

Financial transactions: Fees and charges paid to financial institutions for loans, account set-up, maintenance, transactional services, consultancy, insurance, and brokerage fees.

Food and groceries: Expenses related to shopping for grocery, takeout, meal kits, and dining out.

Healthcare/Medical expenses: Expenses for medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners, including pharmacy purchases.

Miscellaneous expenses: Expenses related to charitable donations, government fines and fees.

Retail sales and services: Expenses incurred in large and small chain stores, wholesale and discount clubs, single retail stores, subscription services, professional services, and maintenance and repair services. Includes discount superstores, like Target and Walmart, where participants can purchase food, school supplies, medical products, etc.

Transport related expenses: Expenses incurred on fuel, parking, vehicle purchase, vehicle maintenance and repair, public transit, ride-shares, and other commuting expenses.

Travel/Leisure/Entertainment: Expenses incurred on lodging, air travel, cruises and carnivals, movies, theaters, sports events, and other related spending.

Housing & Utilities: Expenses incurred on rent, mortgage, property taxes, electric, heating, water, sanitation, and related spending.


What data will be added to this dashboard in the future?

Spending data will be updated for each program quarterly until the program ends. In 2024, the dashboard will present quantitative and qualitative data on the well-being and outcomes of caregivers who are receiving unconditional cash.

Storytelling

Who are storytellers?

Storytellers are a diverse group of pilot participants who have volunteered to share their personal experiences in the program for a public audience. Members of the storytelling cohort choose what opportunities they accept, and can withdraw from storytelling at any point during the pilot. Storytellers receive guaranteed income payments, but do not participate in the research so that they may speak freely and their interactions with the public do not influence the research findings.


Why is storytelling important?

Spending data tells part of the story. But the most important stories are not in the numbers. Pilot participants themselves are best positioned to reflect on the impact of guaranteed income payments. Participant testimonies bring a diversity of lived experiences to the forefront of the conversation about unconditional cash and economic security. The challenges, opportunities, and solutions they share help make sense of the data and inform our collective understanding.


What is the difference between storytelling and qualitative data?

Storytelling is not research. Rather, storytelling enriches our public conversations around guaranteed income by situating community members as the narrators of their own lives. In contrast, qualitative research is a distinct naturalistic research method that collects nonnumerical data such as text, narrative, multimedia, video, or audio to provide an in-depth and rigorous understanding of a topic or social phenomenon. CGIR is collecting qualitative data across pilot sites and will make this publicly available in 2024.

Other

Whom should I contact if I have questions?


Project partners

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