Compton Launches Largest Basic Income Program in the U.S.

Compton, California is launching the largest city-based guaranteed income experiment in the United States.

The Compton Pledge was unveiled Monday — the handiwork of Mayor Aja Brown, the Fund for Guaranteed Income (F4GI), and the Jain Family Institute (JFI). 800 low-income residents, selected at random, will receive money each month to help them meet basic needs. Researchers will analyze their spending habits and overall wellbeing.

Details about the program are still scant. We know it will start later this year and that stipends will be at least a few hundred dollars. The pilot was made possible by more than $2.5 million in private contributions.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is an ascendant idea in public policy circles. In 2018, Stockton, California launched the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) Project. UBI gained further popularity with the 2020 candidacy of American entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who made it a central piece of his campaign platform.