Disparity Study FAQ

What is a Disparity Study?

A disparity study determines whether a government entity, either in the past or currently, engages in exclusionary practices in the solicitation and award of contracts to minority, and women‐owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs).

What is the purpose of a Disparity Study?

The study is necessitated in part by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson. The court decision imposed legal requirements on jurisdictions to establish a “compelling interest” to support the establishment of a minority and women business program. The results of this study determine if a compelling interest exists for the City to have a M/WBE program.

Why did the City of Raleigh conduct a Disparity Study?

The City conducted a disparity study to aid the City in evaluating and improving its current programs and to undertake all necessary and affirmative steps to ensure that Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) are afforded opportunities to participate in the City’s procurements.

When was the Disparity Study completed?

The study was completed and adopted by City Council in April of 2023. View the full study or study summary for more information. 

What types of contracts were reviewed in the study?

The study focused on the City’s awarded contracts for goods, services (professional and general), and construction over a five (5) year period, from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2021.

How can local business owners and community stakeholders get involved and stay informed? 

The participation of stakeholders and business owners is crucial to the disparity study’s success. The project team conducted stakeholder meetings, business owner interviews, sent surveys, and held focus groups throughout the course of the study to gather information.

You can also share your questions or insights about working in the local marketplace by emailing the MWBE team at mwbe@raleighnc.gov

What are the next steps?

The City will begin Phase I of implementation in Fall 2023. Visit the project page for implementation updates.



Lekesha R. Shaw
MWBE Program Manager

Equity and Inclusion
Service Categories:
Small Business
Related Services:
MWBE Disparity Study