Disparity Study

What is a disparity study?

Disparity studies determine if inequities exist in public procurement and contracting that adversely affect Disadvantaged Businesses / minorities and/or women. In a case filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989, it was ruled that governments must establish a “compelling interest” to support the creation of contracting programs that specifically target minority – and/or women-owned businesses.

A disparity study helps ensure any race-or gender-based remedial programs will withstand scrutiny in a court of law. The primary goal of the study is to assess, quantify, and evaluate the prevalence, significance (degree and weight) and scope of discrimination in the marketplace, if any, against minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

Wake County Government is focused on strengthening business opportunities for people of color and women. To accomplish this goal, the County partnered with Griffin & Strong, a national leader in disparity research analysis, program design and implementation. In March 2020, a disparity study was launched and is a powerful tool to help make the changes needed in the way the County spends its resources.

Our goal is to make these changes effective and sustainable. The results of the disparity study will help the organization:

  • Understand the systemic challenges in policies and practices that perpetuate disparity
  • Develop strategies that will support equity in the procurement process
  • Build capacity of the MWBE economic ecosystem in the region.

The executive summary of the disparity study can be found here.