Online First: NYC 311 A Tract-Level Analysis of Citizen–Government Contacting in New York City

NYC 311

A Tract-Level Analysis of Citizen–Government Contacting in New York City

  1. Scott L. Minkoff1

  1. 1Barnard College, New York, NY, USA
  1. Scott L. Minkoff, Barnard College, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, USA.


311 is a telephone and web service that allows residents of many cities to report nonemergency concerns and problems with city services to their local government. This article explores the Census-tract-level variation in 311 contacting volume within New York City. Drawing on previous research on citizen–government interaction, service delivery, and civic engagement, the article focuses on how contacting propensity and condition both explain spatial variations in contacting volume. These explanations are tested using indicators that describe the people who live and work in the space, the housing in the space, the economic development of the space, and the space’s representation in city government. 311 contacting is divided into three categories (government-provided goods, graffiti, and noise) that are separately analyzed using regression models that account for spatial and serial dependence. The article also discusses the theoretical and methodological challenges of using 311 data to understand the distribution of problems within a city.

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