Research

Democracy North Carolina’s research program is legendary.

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Democracy North Carolina is the state’s most respected source of impartial data on the role of money in politics, voter participation and good government. We use our research to inform voters as well as to strengthen our advocacy, organizing and civic engagement strategies.

Our research has exposed corruption, inspired stricter ethical standards for elected officials, improved campaign finance reporting rules and confirmed the positive effects of electoral reforms on democracy in North Carolina.

For a look at our most recent reports and our research archives, please visit our Research Library.

What Makes Us Different

Democracy North Carolina is unique in combining research with advocacy and grassroots organizing. This integrated approach helps us remember that, ultimately, numbers and policy affect the lives of real people.

Research Partners

While we conduct research to further the public good, we also serve as research partners to other good government organizations as well as the government itself. Other organizations have used our research skills to identify voting patterns and areas where targeted voter education is needed, to track campaign finance patterns and to highlight areas where new ethical regulations are needed. If you are interested in partnering with Democracy NC on a research project, please contact Bob Hall, our Executive Director (919-489-1931).

What’s Ahead

Going forward, we intend to continue to:

  • Follow the money trail in NC politics, especially the impact of special interests on public policy.
  • Explore how electoral policy and voting patterns affect the quality of life that North Carolina offers.

See our Research Library section for our research products!

Why Statistics Mean More Than Just Numbers:

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Our research plays a vital role in providing statistical evidence that North Carolina needs to continually fine tune its policies in order to maintain a healthy democracy. We are proud to fulfill this role in convincing our state’s leaders that changes are needed or reforms have worked. But we never lose sight of the fact that behind every number, there are people whose lives are affected by whether their elected officials listen to their constituents and act in the common good.

When will we know our job in this regard is done? When we see real change in the following statistics, collated by Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch using information from a report prepared by the NC Justice Center:

  • 15% of people in North Carolina live in poverty, according the U.S Census Bureau.
  • 10% of white North Carolina residents live in poverty.
  • 26% of African-American North Carolina residents live in poverty.
  • 26% of Latino residents in North Carolina live in poverty.
  • 23% of children in North Carolina under age five live in poverty.
  • 47% of children in Robeson County live in poverty.
  • 1,200 people discharged from state mental hospitals ended up in homeless shelters in 2007. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates this numbers did not change much in 2008.
  • 29,000 children are on a state waiting list for a child care subsidy that would make it possible for their mothers to work or acquire the training needed to enter the workforce.
  • 1.4 million people in North Carolina have no health care insurance coverage.
  • 11% of the total income earned by the lowest earning 20% of state taxpayers is consumed by state and local taxes.
  • 7% of the total income earned by the wealthiest 1% percent of state taxpayers is paid in state and local taxes.