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New Report Surveys Growth of Participatory Budgeting

Public Agenda this week released the first-ever comprehensive analysis of participatory budgeting in the U.S. and Canada. Participatory budgeting (PB) is one of the fastest-growing forms of public engagement in local governance. Public Agenda’s report is a great explainer on how communities are doing PB, who is participating and what projects get funded.

Residents in the U.S. and Canada decided how their communities should spend $50 million through PB in 2014–15, according to the report, “Public Spending, By the People: Participatory Budgeting in the United States and Canada in 2014–15.” Communities also saw diverse participation, with more than 70,000 residents voting in that time period.

Yet PB implementation and outcomes vary widely between cities and districts. For instance:

  • On average, cities and districts allocated $1 million to PB, but that ranged from $61,000 to $3.4 million.
  • Some communities lag far behind in their representation of lower-income and less educated residents. The report provides demographic data on participants and compares it to local US census data.

The report is a collaboration between Public Agenda and local evaluators and practitioners of PB. It was funded by the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation and completed through a research partnership with the Kettering Foundation. Read more at http://ow.ly/4nvKQn.